Myths and Mysteries in Archaeology anth 3821 Dr. Susan Johnston Spring 2018 Monroe 352



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Myths and Mysteries in Archaeology
ANTH 3821 Dr. Susan Johnston

Spring 2018 Monroe 352

Textbooks: Feder, Kenneth L. 2013. Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries. 8th Edition. McGraw-Hill: New York. ISBN 978-0078035074


Kehoe, Alice Beck. 2005. The Kensington Runestone Waveland: Long Grove, IL. ISBN 978-1577663713

Recommended: if you have not had an archaeology course before, read Paul Bahn’s book Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (2000, Oxford University Press); it’s on reserve in Gelman.



Reading:

January 17 Introduction


19 Epistemology—how do we know things?

Feder Ch. 1

24 Science and knowledge

Feder Ch. 2


26 Archaeology—how do we know things?

Andersson; Fagan; Bahn Ch. 1-7, on Reserve (if you have not had any

archaeology before)
31 The Discovery of America?

Feder Ch. 6; Anderson


February 2 The Discovery of America, case study: St. Brendan

Review Feder Ch. 5; The Voyage of St. Brendan;

Tim Severin and Saint Brendan
7 The Kensington Runestone 1

Kehoe Ch. 1-5


9 The Kensington Runestone 2

Kehoe Ch. 6-9


14 All things Egyptian Part 1

Feder Ch. 10; Hadingham

http://www.gizapower.com/

http://www.thepump.org/

16 All things Egyptian Part 2

Nelson; NYT King Tut’s curse; Hawass et al (this is technical but get the gist)


21 Ancient Aliens: Unexplained Structures (S2:E8)

In-class DVD


23 Ancient Astronauts?

Feder Ch. 9; Nickel & McGaha


28 Stonehenge

Stonehenge


March 2 King Arthur—historical fiction or reality?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-Roman_Britain

Skeptics and King Arthur

Looking for King Arthur


7 EXAM


9 ESP and archaeology

Feder Ch. 11; Hyman, Psi experiments; Schwartz (I know this one’s

long, just get the gist of the ESP aspect); Plummer

14-16 SPRING BREAK

21 That Old Time Religion

Feder Ch. 12; Bielo; Wood
23 The Piltdown Hoax

Feder Ch. 4; DeGroote et al


28 Ancient matriarchies?

Gimbutas; Eller; Meskell


30 Atlantis: what Plato said (and didn’t say)

Feder Ch. 8; Critias; Section from Timaeus



PAPER DUE

April 4 Atlantis locations?

Jordan, New World

http://atlantipedia.ie/samples/ (look through some of the theories here)

Antarctica http://atlantipedia.ie/samples/antarctica/

Aegean http://www.greeka.com/cyclades/santorini/santorini-volcano/atlantis.htm

Straits of Gibraltor http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1554594.stm

Bimini http://funandsun.com/1tocf/inf/bim/bimini.html


6 Atlantis from a Geographer’s Perspective, Part 1

Erlingsson Ch. 1-2

11 Atlantis from a Geographer’s Perspective, Part 2

Erlingsson Ch. 3-4


13 How to evaluate Plato

Jordan, Plato


18 The implications of alternative ideas

Holtorf 2005; Fagan & Feder; Wallis & Blain

20 How should archaeology respond?

Biesaw; Holtorf 2010; Reece; Feder 2016


25 Why do we believe?

Hyman, Belief*; Flemming


27 Final thoughts

References, additional readings (for web pages the URL is at the top of the first page):
Anderson, David S. 2016. Black Olmecs and white Egyptians. Lost City, Found Pyramid: Understanding Alternative Archaeologies and Pseudoscientific Practices. Jeb J. Card & David S. Anderson (eds.) University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa.
Andersson, Pia. 2012. Alternative archaeology: many pasts in our present. Numen 59: 125–137.
Bahn, Paul. 1996. Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Beisaw, April M. 2016. Ghost hunting as archaeology. Lost City, Found Pyramid: Understanding Alternative Archaeologies and Pseudoscientific Practices. Jeb J. Card & David S. Anderson (eds.) University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa.
Bielo, James S. 2016. Creationist history-making. Lost City, Found Pyramid: Understanding Alternative Archaeologies and Pseudoscientific Practices. Jeb J. Card & David S. Anderson (eds.) University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa.
DeGroote, Isabelle. 2016. New genetic and morphological evidence suggests a single hoaxer created “Piltdown man.” http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org
Eller, Cynthia. 2003. The religious use of prehistoric imagery in contemporary goddess spirituality. Public Archaeology 3(2): 77-87.
Erlingsson, Ulf. 2004. Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective. Lindorm Publishing.
Fagan, Garrett G. 2006. Diagnosing pseudoarchaeology. Archaeological Fantasies. Garrett G.Fagan (ed.) Routledge: New York.
Fagan, Garrett G and Kenneth L. Feder. 2006. Crusading against straw men: an alternative view of alternative archaeologies. World Archaeology 38(4): 718-29.
Feder, Kenneth L. 2016. Answering pseudoarchaeology. Lost City, Found Pyramid: Understanding Alternative Archaeologies and Pseudoscientific Practices. Jeb J. Card & David S. Anderson (eds.) University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa.
Flemming, N.C. 2006. The attraction of non-rational archaeological hypotheses. Archaeological Fantasies. Garrett G.Fagan (ed.) Routledge: New York.
Gimbutas, Maria. 2005 (1982). Old Europe in the Fifth Millennium B.C. Reprinted in, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Anthropology. Kirk M. Endicott and Robert L. Welsch (eds.) McGraw-Hill.
Hadingham, Evan. 2010. Uncovering secrets of the Sphinx. (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/uncovering-secrets-of-the-sphinx-5053442/)
Hawass, Zahi et al. 2010. Ancestry and pathology in King Tutankhamun’s family. Journal of the American Medical Association 303(7): 638-47.
Holtorf, Cornelius. 2005. Beyond crusades: how (not) to engage with alternative archaeologies. World Archaeology 37(4): 544–551.
Holtorf, Cornelius. 2010. Meta-stories of archaeology. World Archaeology 42(3): 381–393.
Hyman, Ray. 1989. The Elusive Quarry: A Scientific Appraisal of Psychical Research. Prometheus Books.
Jordan, Paul. 2003. The Atlantis Syndrome. The History Press.
Meskell, Lynn. 1995. Goddesses, Gimbutas and ‘New Age’ archaeology. Antiquity 69:74-86.
Nelson, Mark R. 2002. The mummy's curse: historical cohort study. British Museum Journal 325:1482–4.
Nickel, Joe and James McGaha. 2015. The search for negative evidence. Skeptical Inquirer 39(6): 53-55.
Plummer, Mark. 1991. Locating invisible buildings. The Skeptical Inquirer 15(4): 386-97.
Reece, Katherine. 2006. Memoirs of a true believer. Archaeological Fantasies. Garrett G.Fagan (ed.) Routledge: New York.
Schwartz, Stephen A. 1978. The Secret Vaults of Time. Grosset & Dunlap.
Wallis, Robert J. and Jenny Blain. 2003. Sites, sacredness, and stories: interactions of archaeology and contemporary Paganism. Folklore 114 (3): 307-321.
Wood, Bryant. 2015. Digging past the doubts. https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/digging-past-doubts/

Learning Objectives
* to learn how to think critically about evidence and its interpretation
* to give you an idea of what archaeologists do and don’t know about the past, and how they know (or why they don’t)
* to consider some of the popular things people think about the past, and why they might think they are correct
* to do this in a fun way!


Course Requirements:
This syllabus represents the basic framework of this class. However, I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE IT IF IT BECOMES NECESSARY. This would only happen if we get behind, or want to pursue a topic for more time than I have allowed for that topic. You will get plenty of warning if I do have to change the syllabus.
All of the reading listed in this syllabus is required. You are also responsible for anything that happens in class. It will make this class both more interesting and more useful for you if you will PLEASE DO THE READING. That will make it easier for you to enter discussions, which will be numerous in this class. IF I GET THE SENSE THAT A LARGE NUMBER OF YOU ARE NOT DOING THE READING AND ARE INSTEAD RELYING ON CLASS DISCUSSIONS, I WILL START CALLING ON PEOPLE RANDOMLY FOR YOUR OPINIONS. So be prepared.
I am also going to count participation in class discussions for 10% of your grade. You don’t have to be brilliant every day, but you will need to say something every now and then that indicates that 1) you did the reading and 2) thought about it. At the end of the semester, if I have no idea who you are and you have never said a word in class, I will deduct points accordingly. At that point it will be up to you to convince me that you have indeed participated.
You must also take both exams and turn in the paper in order to pass the course. There are two exams, one during the semester and the other during the final exam period. Each will cover the section of the course that precedes it. This includes the second exam that, although held during the final exam period, is not cumulative. Each exam is worth 35% of your grade, the paper is worth 20%, and class discussion is worth 10%.
FAILURE TO APPEAR AT AN EXAM WITHOUT LETTING ME KNOW IN ADVANCE WILL GET YOU AN F ON THAT EXAM. If you must miss an exam, you will have until I hand back the graded exams to make it up. This is usually about a week. If this becomes necessary, please see me as soon as possible to arrange a time.
If you are ill and therefore miss an exam or have to turn in a paper late, I WILL REQUIRE YOU TO TURN IN DOCUMENTATION TO SHOW THAT YOU SAW A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER. If you are sick enough to miss class, you are sick enough to go to student health or the equivalent. Also, I WILL CALL AND VERIFY THAT YOUR DOCUMENTATION IS LEGITIMATE. I don’t need to know any details of why you saw a health care provider, but I have received fake health notes before so I will make sure that anything you provide is real.
I DON’T DO EXTRA CREDIT, SO DON’T EVEN ASK! If you are having trouble with the course material, come and see me. THIS SHOULD BE DONE EARLIER RATHER THAN LATER. I am happy to help you succeed in this class, but I can’t do it if I don’t know that you need help, and there will come a point in the semester where it will be too late to do anything. So stay on top of it!
Finally, there is a short paper for this course. The paper topic is described below, but the idea is to apply what we have talked about in class to a claim about the past. THE PAPER IS DUE MARCH 30 IN CLASS. Late papers may be accepted under some circumstances, but I will deduct a grade level for each day it is late (i.e. A to A- to B+). If it is late the reason should be something more serious than “I just ran out of time” or “I had a lot of other things to do that week.” You know about this paper well in advance—schedule your time accordingly!
The paper is worth 20% of your grade. YOU MAY ONLY SUBMIT FINAL PAPERS BY E-MAIL IF YOU HAVE MADE PRIOR ARRANGEMENTS WITH ME TO DO SO. I am not a printing service. Last minute submissions by e-mail without such arrangements will not be accepted. If you want to discuss any details about this paper with me, please come to my office hours or email me. Also, I would be happy to read a draft version of your paper, and make comments on it before you turn the final version in. Draft papers may be emailed to me. If you want me to read a draft, please give it to me no later than ten days before the paper is due.
My office is Rm. 203 in 2112 G St. and you can reach me at extension is 4-6964. My mailbox is in the main anthropology department office, 2110 G St. My office hours are Wednesday and Friday 12:00-2:00, if you need to see me. I am only on campus those two days, but you can also reach me by e-mail at sjohnsto@gwu.edu and I check my email frequently.

Academic Integrity
All students must practice academic integrity. This means doing your own work, and when you use the words or ideas of others in any written work in any way, you must: 1) indicate the source of any ideas that are not your own using appropriate referencing forms; and 2) identify any direct quotations with quotations marks. THE RULE IS THAT, IF IT IS NOT YOUR OWN IDEA OR COMMON KNOWLEDGE, YOU MUST PROVIDE A CITATION. That includes both quoted material and general summaries or other references to the ideas of others. If you have any questions at all about what this means, ask me. Plagiarism, and all breaches of academic integrity (for example, the sale of lecture-notes from this class, or use of content from the internet as though it was your own), will be severely dealt with in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures. If I have any suspicion that you might have plagiarized, I will ask for a digital copy of your paper and run it through Safe Assign. For more information on The George Washington University’s policies on academic integrity, please consult: http://www.gwu.edu/~ntegrity/code.html
The policy on academic integrity in this course is that if you commit a breach of academic integrity in any assignment or exam, you will receive a zero for that assignment or exam. This infraction will be reported to the University’s Academic Integrity Council. You will be clearly notified by the instructor in person OR by email before the Council is informed.
Testing Goals:

The exam questions will consist of multiple choice, the identification of terms, and a longer essay question. For identifications, you should note 1) what it is and 2) why it is important for this course; for sites, you should also give an indication of its chronological position (specific date or period) and where it is located. For the essay questions, you should be sure to 1) address all required parts of the question; 2) provide specific information (and avoid generalities); and 3) demonstrate knowledge of material in the reading and presented and discussed in class.


University Policies




University Policy on Religious Holidays


  1. Students should notify faculty during the first week of the semester of their intention to be absent from class on their day(s) of religious observance.

  2. Faculty should extend to these students the courtesy of absence without penalty on such occasions, including permission to make up examinations.

  3. Faculty who intend to observe a religious holiday should arrange at the beginning of the semester to reschedule missed classes or to make other provisions for their course-related activities

Support for Students Outside of the Classroom​


Disability Support Services (DSS)
Any student who may need an accommodation based on the potential impact of a disability should contact the Disability Support Services office at 202-994-8250 in the Rome Hall, Suite 102, to establish eligibility and to coordinate reasonable accommodations. For additional information please refer to: gwired.gwu.edu/dss/

Mental Health Services 202-994-5300​
The University's​ ​Mental Health Services offers 24/7 assistance and referral to address students' personal, social, career, and study skills problems. Services for students include: crisis and emergency mental health consultations confidential assessment, counseling services (individual and small group), and referrals. counselingcenter.gwu.edu/
Academic Integrity Code


Academic dishonesty is defined as cheating of any kind, including misrepresenting one's own work, taking credit for the work of others without crediting them and without appropriate authorization, and the fabrication of information. For the remainder of the code, see: studentconduct.gwu.edu/code-academic-integrity


Paper Topic

For the paper, I would like you to select any published claim with an archaeological subject. It can be from anywhere—newspapers, tabloids, pamphlets, books, websites, TV, magazines—as long as it is archaeological. By the time this is due, you should know what that means. It isn’t living people (as in “Pacific tribe worships Elvis statue”—interesting but not archaeological), dinosaurs, or physical anthropology (you can’t consider claims about the biology of our past ancestors though you could consider claims about their associated material culture). It can include a significant portion of history (i.e. documents) if you want, though you should also think about documents in terms of material culture as well as their written content. It also has to be “real”, by which I mean it can’t be something in a clearly fictional piece (like a novel). You should be evaluating a single source (e.g. a TV show, website, or article) rather than a particular topic—not whether or not aliens built the pyramids in general but a particular individual, article, show etc. that says they did. If you are unsure, please tell me what you want to do and I can either approve it or not.


Then, critically evaluate this claim in the way we have been doing in class. Some of the questions you should consider are:

 Who said it and what is their background?


 Do they present any evidence for their claim?
 Are there any references provided?
 Is it possible to verify what they said?
 What information would you need to properly evaluate this claim?
 What are some of the ways you might go about testing what the person said?

You need not be limited to these questions, but these are intended to give you some guidelines. The idea is to encourage you to apply what you have learned here to a real example of the kinds of claims that are made every day in the media and elsewhere. If possible, you should also make some attempt to actually verify the claim made. For example, you might consult introductory archaeology texts, regional archaeology surveys, etc. If you can’t actually verify the claim, at least consider what would have to change in the current state of knowledge in order for the claim to be true (for example, if someone claims that the mounds they found were cities 200,000 years ago because they are channeling a spiritual entity who once lived there, you might be given to wonder why that is earlier by roughly 195,000 years than any known city in the world).


You may use the Internet as a source for claims. If you do, please be sure I have some documentation of the claim. You can print it out for me and include it with the paper or you can email me the link (in which case please tell me in the paper you are doing this). Also, you may not use one of the topics we covered in class—that would be cheating!
You may also use the Internet for research, but be very careful—there are far more unreliable sites out there than reliable ones (that being sort of the point of the class). Using a pseudoarchaeology site to critique a pseudoarchaeology claim kind of misses that point. If you are unsure whether the site you are using is reliable, send me the URL and I’ll take a look at it.
Grammar and organization count! While I don't expect you to be writing prize-winning prose, your grade will go down if there are large numbers of typos, grammatical errors, lapses in logic, etc. An A paper will not look like something you spit out after midnight the night before it was due and clearly haven’t read over since. If English is your second language, I would strongly encourage you to either write a draft (see below) or use the writing center. I have all kinds of sympathy for people who are writing papers in a second language, but ultimately it is your responsibility to see that you write in a way that I can understand.
1If you want to discuss any details about this paper with me, please come to my office hours. Also, I would be happy to read a draft version of your paper, and make comments on it before you turn the final version in. Emailed drafts are fine, even encouraged. If you want me to read a draft, please get it to me no later than ten days before the paper is due.
The paper will be 5-10 pages long, double-spaced, and will be worth 20% of your grade. And please remember—I have been using computers for longer than most of you have been alive! I know all about large type faces and large margins. Please give me some credit for intelligence.
The paper is due IN CLASS on MARCH 30. Papers turned in before the due date can be put in my mailbox in to the anthropology department (2110 G St). It is open most days until 5:00, but if the anthropology department is closed there is a plastic bin on the outside of the department door and you can leave it in there (so please don‘t claim that you went to turn it in and you couldn’t because the office was closed). DO NOT PUT THE PAPER UNDER MY OFFICE DOOR. There are too many ways this can go wrong. I will check my mailbox when I get I get back from class on the day the paper is due. If your paper wasn’t turned in during class and isn’t my mailbox, it will be considered late.
And in case you missed it the first time, YOU MAY ONLY SUBMIT PAPERS BY E-MAIL IF YOU HAVE MADE PRIOR ARRANGEMENTS WITH ME TO DO SO. I am not a printing service. Last minute submissions by e-mail without such arrangements will not be accepted.
As noted above, I take plagiarism very seriously. I am a researcher, and like all researchers, I respect the right of people to own their own work. You should do the same. If I suspect that you might have used outside sources inappropriately, I will run your paper through Safe Assign, so be warned and don’t be stupid.
As noted above, late papers may be accepted under some circumstances, but I will deduct a grade level for each day it is late (i.e. A to A- to B+). If it is late the reason should be something more serious than “I just ran out of time” or “I had a lot of other things to do that week.” You know about this paper well in advance—schedule your time accordingly!







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