Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology

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9780072869484: Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology

Ancient astronauts? Atlantis? Psychic archaeology? Pharaoh’s curses? Committed to the scientific investigation of human antiquity, this indispensable supplementary text uses interesting archaeological hoaxes, myths, and mysteries to show how we can truly know things about the past through science. The text presents examples of fantastic findings, and carefully, logically, and entertainingly describes the flaws in the purported evidence for each fantastic claim; readers can hone their own evaluative skills by example.

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From the Publisher:

An appendix has been added that provides suggestions for videos to accompany each chapter.
A new section has been added to Chapter 12 that discusses Kennewick Man.
All of the 'Best of the Web' sections have been updated, and this edition offers brief descriptions of each site.The text presents examples of fantastic findings and carefully, logically, and entertainingly describes the flaws in the purported evidence for each fantastic claim; readers can hone their own evaluative skills by example. As one user said, 'One of the greatest challenges a teacher faces is getting students to critically evaluate information. This text provides readable and critical discussion of some of the more bizarre, nonsensical, and entertaining interpretations of archaeological data 'All students would benefit by reading this book.' A checklist on the inside cover gives students prompts to use in thinking critically when evaluating claims.
Well-chosen examples of cases popularized by the media invite student interest. Students are eager to read about ancient astronauts, the power of pyramids and crystals, the Atlantis legend, and so on. As another user said, 'It's a real eye-opener and slate-cleaner for them to learn how slanted much of the popular media has been. After they read this book, students are much better prepared - to understand archaeology coursework.'
'Frequently Asked Questions' sections in each chapter represent questions students have asked over the years that relate specifically to the issues and controversies of the chapter.
'Current Perspectives' sections provide a current scientific look at the chapter topic, reinforcing how real science works.
The final chapter presents genuine archaeological mysteries. Having debunked some of the more spectacular claims about the past in the previous chapters, the author leaves readers with some genuine unsolved mysteries to ponder: e.g., Stonehenge and crop circles, the collapse of Maya civilization, and the origin of Kennewick Man.
Numerous photographs and illustrations support the text examples. Especially useful are the side-by-side comparisons of 'mysterious' phenomena with similar looking elements that are scientifically documented.

About the Author:

Ken Feder received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Connecticut in 1982. He is a full professor in the Department of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University where he has taught since 1977. He is the founder and director of the Farmington River Archaeological Project, an on-going survey of an inland, upland valley in north central Connecticut. He is the author of several books including Human Antiquity: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology (with Michael Park); Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology; A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site; The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory; Field Methods in Archaeology (co-editor with Tom Hester and Harry Shafer); Lessons from the Past: An Introductory Reader in Archaeology (editor); and Dangerous Places: Health, Safety, and Archaeology (co-edited with David Poirier). He is a Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. He has been the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at Central Connecticut State University. He has appeared on a number of television documentaries about archaeology for BBC Horizon, the History Channel, and the Learning Channel. He lives in West Simsbury, Connecticut with his wife, two sons, and three bad cats.

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