Open access and pseudoarchaeology: an encouraging update!


Back in July I wrote about a new collection of reviews of pseudoarchaeology books by archaeologists that appeared in the journal American Antiquity. I was delighted about this effort by the authors and editors–I think we need more of this sort of direct engagement–but very disappointed that the reviews were inaccessible to the majority of interested, non-academic readers. I and others called on the SAA to make this collection free for public access.

As it happens, a few weeks ago they did just that! You are now able to access the reviews through this link. (I would have written about this much sooner, but I’ve been swamped with work in my new position). In addition, I want to call your attention to the great perspective piece that Kristina Kilgrove wrote for Forbes, in which she nicely summarized the problem archaeologists have with the pseudoscientific approach to archaeology:

Archaeologists are trained as anthropologists to recognize and celebrate the diversity of humanity, both today and in the past. Eric Cline succinctly explains this in his review, noting “pseudoarchaeologists cannot accept the fact that the mere humans might have come up with great innovations such as the domestication of plants and animals or built great architectural masterpieces such as the Sphinx all on their own; rather, they frequently seek or invoke divine, or even alien, assistance to explain how these came to be.”

Kudos to the SAA for making this resource available to everyone, and many thanks to the archaeologists who took the time to write these excellent reviews, with particular credit to Don Holly for organizing them! I hope that more archaeologists and biological anthropologists will follow this example. (In this spirit, I’ve just submitted the final draft of a paper on mitochondrial haplogroup X that addresses many of the common misconceptions about it–see comments on this piece for examples– to an academic journal. I’ll update you guys when it comes out).

5 thoughts on “Open access and pseudoarchaeology: an encouraging update!

  1. lesraff September 12, 2015 / 2:53 pm

    Jennifer–I have enjoyed browsing your site. As a fellow Raff, I am wondering if we are related. As a physician and blogger, I share your philosophy about science and sham! Visit our site sometime (just a slice of midlife crisis) or leave a reply comment, Would enjoy hearing from you.
    Les Raff MD

    • Jennifer Raff October 7, 2015 / 5:29 pm

      Thanks! Raff is actually my married name, so there’s no relationship :). Thanks for reading, regardless!

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