Professor: Human Ingenuity, Not Aliens, Behind Monumental Feats

Mummy curses! Ancient aliens!

Despite the scholarly nature of archaeological research, "We often find ourselves lumped in with the paranormal column," said David S. Anderson, an adjunct professor in Radford University's Anthropological Sciences program and an expert in Mayan archaeology.

Anderson will speak on the topic at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in Reed Hall 201 at Radford University. His free public lecture is titled, "Ancient Aliens vs. Human Ancestors: The Battle for the Public Perception of Archaeology."

"According to the History Channel’s program 'Ancient Aliens,' virtually every monumental feat of the ancient past, whether it is the construction of the Pyramids of Giza or the development of the Mayan calendar, cannot be explained by the efforts of human ingenuity," Anderson said.

Instead, Anderson said, "they claim that such feats were beyond simple human beings and can only be explained by the ultimate deus ex machina, a fleet of extraterrestrials on a mission to civilize and educate a planet of savages."

In his talk, Anderson will explore why people find "this narrative so convincing in spite of decades of archaeological research proving the contrary, and what we can do to guard ourselves against similar deceptions."

Anderson received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Tulane University in 2010, with a focus on Mayan and Mesoamerican archaeology. The professor has been actively working on archaeological projects in Yucatan, Mexico, since 1999, and has worked to promote awareness of cultural heritage and archaeology to the general public.

To learn more about the lecture, contact Anderson at

Nov 12, 2012
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761