Pre Columbian Contact Archaeology

An excellent read: Muslim Sailors, a Skeptical Redux

In a recent issue of Skeptic, Tim Callahan discusses the issue of ancient astronauts and lost civilizations.(1) This is perhaps one of the most frequent and popular theories of pseudo-archaeology, and certainly an area of concern ripe for a skeptical assessment.(2) Overall, Callahan does an admirable job in addressing the common theories of hidden secret civilizations, and it is good to see the inclusion of more recent Raelian ideas, which are generally seen as too off base for archaeologists to even bother discussing them. However, Callahan’s discussion of pseudo-archaeology takes a long diversion into another popular area of fictitious history, using it as an argument against lost civilizations. I refer to his theory that Muslim cultures were in direct contact with the Americas before Columbus, only one of many unsupported propositions of Pre-Columbian exploration of the New World.


  1. #1 SimonG
    November 14, 2008

    How disappointing. From the headline, I thought this was about some new sport.

  2. #2 Bob
    December 17, 2008

    What’s really interesting about skeptic’s general rejection of pre columbian contact is the emphasis placed on refuting the obviously faked or shaky evidence (ancient astronauts, most of Fell’s work on epigraphy, the Bat Creek Stone, etc.)that has been presented in the past, while ignoring the hard evidence that does exist [plant genetics, animal genetics, the Petersborough Proto-Tifnagh inscriptions, Jomon pottery in Central America, maize in Asia, etc)..

    The situation reminds me of the Clovis Police of 30 years ago who bent over backward to refute evidence of human inhabitants in North America before 12000 CE just to protect their reputations. Ignoring evidence because it does not fit one’s training or paradigm is not science.