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Bad Archaeology & Archaeology

24 Jun

The first two terms are the name of a couple of websites owned and used by

http://www.badarchaeology.com/

The problem, of course, comes in when that person and his writing partner set themselves up as the final authority on the research field of archaeology. They aren’t but they like to see changes take place in the field of archaeology. We will look at some selected quotes taken from several different pages on that website.

#1. James and I are fed up with the distorted view of the past that passes for knowledge in popular culture. We are unhappy that books written by people with no knowledge of real archaeology dominate the shelves at respectable bookshops

They have good company. Eric Cline, Robert Cargill, Joe Zias and other archaeologists do not like this either. To a point we do not either. But the real problem  comes in when these archaeologists lump legitimate Christian and other researchers in with the likes of Ron Wyatt, S. Jacobovici and others who really do distort the field of archaeology with their weird views and conclusions.

We take issues with the authors of that website because they use their own standards to make the divide between real and bad archaeology. That is their first mistake. Their second mistake comes in when they declare that their accepted way to do archaeology is the only way to do it. Well archaeology is not like God’s plan of salvation which only has one way of being saved. There are many ways to dig into the past to get the information needed to decipher what actually took place.

Not all the paths are correct but there is more than one way to do archaeology. Oh and, once you get to the truth, no more corrections are needed.

#2. A quick look through the comments that have been made on various pages will throw up some interesting views. In particular, you will find that our critics accuse us of arrogance, bullying, closed-mindedness, even being in the pay of governments to suppress The Truth™. We are none of these. If you return to the site time and again, you will find that we update our pages when new information comes along, correcting errors that we have made. This is something that Bad Archaeologists never do.

You may say this is a good thing as science says it is self-correcting. But the problem is that who is to say that the corrections are correct? Because secular science and archaeology are deceived fields of research and do not have the Spirit of Truth guiding them, there is no guarantee that these men got it right with the second, third or even fourth correction. It is also wrong and irresponsible to develop theories based on limited information.

Another problem is that these men are not going for the truth. If they were, they would realize that the truth is not always found in their accepted ways of doing archaeological research. Sometimes the fringe people stumble onto the truth and do not know how they got there. For the believer, archaeology is all about getting to the truth not the best explanation or the best description of a given excavation site. We are not to lie or sin in our historical work. We are also not to mislead either.

#3. Bad Archaeology is all around us. Many of its ideas are pervasive in popular culture. Its publications sell more than publications dealing with real archaeology. Its web presence is much stronger than that of real archaeology. This is especially true of internet forums, where the most bizarre of conspiracy-oriented ideas are given free rein. With this site we are trying to show that most Bad Archaeology is completely vacuous and valueless. In doing so, I hope that we can also provide a reference point for Good (or at least, Better) Archaeology.

Again the issue is that the term Bad Archaeology is far too broad and generic. It is also very subjective and can contain anything the authors of that website do not like. That means they will include many good archaeologists and the information they uncover. We read several of their articles, the one we thought was the most honest and factual was the one on the Peri Reis map. They made some good points that bear analyzing and reconsidering. We like Dr.Hapgood and read his 3 books which are filled with a lot of useful information. We are prepared to take Matthews’ analysis if it bears out to be correct.

But with that said, real biblical archaeologists have debated this point and those arguments are featured over at Bible and Interp website. There are many problems with communication by real archaeologists which make this situation true. It is too long to go into here, but suffice it to say that sensationalism sells. It sells better than religion sells the ancient past.

We will agree that there are a lot of bad archaeologists out there and most of them try to convince everyone that aliens did it. The other problem we find with this category is that the authors of that website think they get to pick and choose who is a bad archaeologist and who isn’t. There is a lot of bias at play here and that is unfair to those archaeologists who do not meet the approval of the establishment. There is a lot of bias in the field of archaeology. But this does not make the searchers for Noah’s ark credible. Many of those would fit into the category of bad archaeology.

#4. By and large, Bad Archaeologists do not cite excavation reports, catalogues of artefact types, studies of monument classes or the sites and monuments records of places. Perhaps they find the amount of detail overwhelming. Perhaps they do not understand the technical jargon used by their authors. Perhaps they believe that the answers to the questions they pose are not to be found in these minutiae because their questions are too big.

We do not cite excavation reports catalogs, studies, etc., very often. This does not make us bad archaeologists. It makes us discerning because those reports are more subjective than factual. One example is Stephen Collins. He states in almost every report that Tall el-Hamman is likely Sodom. That is a biased opinion not a conclusion based on fact.

We also do not quote from many of the studies on monuments because again, those are subjective and a lot of reading into those monuments take place. Archaeologists tend to think they can read long dead minds and know the motivation behind why something was carved or placed where it was found. They can’t and sometimes, those monuments, if portable enough, could have been moved several times, for different reasons, over the millennia.

To say that good archaeologists must quote from these works is unrealistic and limits the work of archaeologist. We could say that non-Christian archaeologists’ work should be ignored because it is bad archaeology. Their work doesn’t fit with the Bible. We do apply that rule to their conclusions, assumptions, speculations and so on but it does not apply to their work.

Why is this so? Because Christians are not part of every dig. Non-Christian archaeologists do uncover information that no believer has first-hand access to. They cannot get it till the excavation report or book is published. We encourage believers to read non-Christian archaeologists not for their deceived opinions and conclusions but for the information they cannot get anywhere else. To cast them off would be a disservice to believers.

Same with this bad archaeology mentality used by Matthews and his writing partner. They are closing off sources of information needed to learn about the past. Bad archaeologists do dig up information that is sometimes useful. Not everything they do is bad. Of course, not everything established archaeologists do is good. Their work is filled with their perspective and their unbelief.

#5. Many Bad Archaeologists make extensive use of ‘out-of-place artefacts’ or ‘archaeological erratics’. The purpose of drawing these artefacts to their readers’ attention is to cast doubt on the orthodox interpretations of the past that have been developed by archaeologists, usually by questioning what they wrongly perceive to be a linear view of cultural evolution or by trying to undermine conventional chronologies. Occasionally, they are used to cast doubt on models of human evolution (either to demonstrate the creationist claim that humans were created a little over six thousand years ago on the sixth day of Genesis or to demonstrate that humans have been around for billions of years or originally came from elsewhere). More frequently, they are used to cast doubt on the origins of technological civilisation and to show that phenomena such as electricity were known and exploited in the distant past. A few have used them as evidence for time travel or clairvoyance.

The bias of Matthews and his writing partner are exposed. They do not like anything Christian which tells you that their whole definition of bad archaeology is based on their personal bias and nothing objective or superior to them. Those writers are also of the mindset that ony an archaeologist can determine what took place in the past. They are mistaken as archaeology is far too limited for them to ascertain much about past activities.

Because they do not accept the discoveries does not mean they did not take place when they are dated. Their skepticism is not the deciding factor on what did or did not take place. While we will agree that the use of time travel and clairvoyance is wrong, neither are of God, we do not agree with their bias about bad archaeology. Non-believers and bad archaeologists will get some things correct.

Archaeology does not help the theory of evolution at all. Archaeology is a study of ancient societies and civilizations not a study of supposed life development. Archaeology has yet to prove evolution correct and in all cases has shown it to be wrong.

But bias plays a role in what information does or does not get out to the public. What we see in Matthews and his writing partner is the same attitude we see in Jim West, Eric Cline,Robert Cargill  and other biblical archaeologists. They think only they can determine what took place in the past and that the Bible can only be understood and expounded upon by scientific experts.  Those are very elitist attitudes and very wrong.

It tells us that they want to close the field of archaeology to only those who meet their demands and criteria, for the sole reason they do not want to be embarrassed. They know as well as we do that the majority of major archaeological discoveries have come from amateurs or non-archaeologists. Their jealousy plays a role in their division of the field.

Just think, if archaeological excavation was limited to professional archaeologists we would not have the Nag Hammadi library, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Greek Computer and much more. Professional archaeologists do not always dig in the right places and there are far more sites waiting to be excavated than there are professional archaeologists.

You need to remember that dating is very subjective and fallible. The dating systems were created by sinful, fallible imperfect people. Do not expect perfection from imperfect people.

#6. Some Bad Archaeologists believe that there are missing elements of our shared history: achievements that have been overlooked or suppressed, links between times and places that have not hitherto been noticed, whole civilisations that are unknown to conventional history.

We know that the establishment has done just that. They did it with Woolley and they do it with anyone who disagrees with their accepted conclusions. This is a fact of life in the field of archaeology. Egyptologists do it to those who disagree with their theories about the Sphinx and the Pyramids. Now not all those people who disagree with the establishment is correct, but they need to be taken on a case by case basis and not lumped into one category based on secular human bias.

One of the most successful fringe writers of recent years, Graham Hancock is a leading light of a group of people who like to call themselves the ‘New Egyptologists’ to give a spurious sense of academic credibility. Others include his contemporary David Rohl, who has proposed a radical new chronology of Egyptian history to align it with the chronology of the Old Testament by reducing the dates of Egyptian kings. Hancock also tries to establish an alternative chronology, but it is one that pushes back some of Egypt’s most familiar monuments into a very distant past

We like Hancock because he does a lot of our legwork for us. His books are filled with information that is very useful in understanding the past and the Bible. We do not agree with his conclusions but that does not make him a bad archaeologist. It makes him misguided and wandering down the wrong path. It also shows us that evil will let people discover some truths while deceiving them to go into the wrong direction when talking about the past.

We do agree that the Egyptian chronology is off. By how much, we are not sure. The main source for the Egyptian chronology comes from a couple of sources. One source is Manetho. An Egyptian priest writing not from the beginning but somewhere in the middle or later stages of the Egyptian empire. We do not have one original or copy of his complete work. In fact, his work survives be mere quotes from other ancient authors. A couple of those authors also do not agree with each other on what Manetho said. This is not enough to build a whole history on but archaeologists and Egyptologists do it.

There are more details about this but again that would be a topic for another day.

While we like some of the information we can glean from the Bad Archaeology website, we do not like or agree with their elitist attitude. We also do not like their bias, their hatred for the truth and so on. People like this are not trying to get the truth exposed, they are trying to keep it under wraps. Their generic category hides so much information while letting false teaching get to the public. They are not doing anyone a great service.

We could say that they were doing a lot of self-serving work but we cannot read their minds. Their real reasons are their own. But one thing is for sure, they are not working with God to get the right information to the people. Believers need to work with the Spirit of Truth if they want the right information and to have the truth.

 

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