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Bad Archaeology and Velikovsky

16 March 2010

www.badarchaeology.net/confused/velikovsky.php is apparently the brainchild of a couple of youngish archaeologists not long out of classes and fresh with all the group-think stuff they have learnt. They appear to feel obliged to comment on what they consider as ‘bad archaeology’ and ‘bad history’ and ‘pseudo-science’in general. Lots of people come under their microscope – and the usual suspects include Velikovsky (and those they see as inspired by Velikovsky – such as David Rohl and Peter James). As the latter two have origins within the SIS and Velikovsky was the inspiration that gave birth to SIS, members of the society, especially the more venerable variety, might like to have a peek at what these pipsqueaks have to say. It is a moot point if they have actually read Velikovsky but that does not deter other people from criticising him so they aren’t out of kilter in that respect. Velikovsky is compared to ‘creationists’ and by implication, Rohl and James as well. Apparently, the fact that Rohl is popular in the American Bible Belt means that he is especially ‘beyond the pale’. It is true that Velikovsky reverted to using the Bible (and various objectionable interpretations of myth) as a tool to dissect the past but it’s annoying how sure they are of themselves – not a single grain of doubt inside their heads when it comes to the grand ediface of conventional chronology. How wonderful it must be to be young and blissfully unaware of the hotchpotch nature of the construct – but as their archaeological careers develop they will still have no reason to doubt the conventional scheme (as all things can be worked around – even when they have such glaring holes as the Greek Dark Age). It’s a funny thing you know, as well and truly programmed that they are they chose the Shishak = Shoshenk synchronism as the anchor that ‘proved’ beyond doubt that all three chronologies erred – but don’t they realise Shishak is a Biblical character?

On the same web site, but a different link, http://badarchaeology.net/extraterrestrial.sirius.php they pick on Robert Temple’s The Sirius Mystery (elsewhere they have the obligatory criticism of Graham Hancock) and claim the Dogon people themselves, contrary to Temple, do not agree the star Sirius was the astronomical body referred to in their myths. So did Temple have a preconceived idea about Sirius for some unexplainable reason? Or has he misinterpreted what he was told? In particular, the invisible star Sirius B (as far as naked eyesight is concerned) has always appeared to be an unlikely source as the companion of Sirius. Unfortunately, the piece is too short to be useful but they actually say some of the Dogon identified the ‘bright star’ not with Siriuis but with Venus. Other Dogon sources, it is claimed, describe the bright star as invisible – defunct perhaps, like a comet. The two web site authors claim that Siriuis of the Egyptians was identified with the goddess Isis, the sister wife of Osiris – who they say was the constellation of Orion. This appears to be a rather odd interpretation of Egyptian mythology. It may be true the souls of dead pharaohs were perceived to ascend into the sky in the vicinity of Orion but that does not imply he was identifed with those actual stars. Osiris = Orion the hunter (and Nimrod come to that) but whatever inspired that association is clearly not visible in the night sky nowadays. They leave the remark that Sirius, the dog star of the Greeks, was the dog that lapped at the heels of Orion – and again this is not strictly true, as such, and they appear to have bitten off more than they can chew. They are not as clever as they think they are.

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