Reconstructing the Past

Reconstructing the Past

Sites which illustrate different ways of approaching and understanding the past, and attitudes towards the reconstruction of the past. 

Virtually the Ice Age
A wide-ranging site based on Cresswell Crags, including a section looking at excavation techniques past and present, as well as a virtual tour of the sites in the area.

The Official Graham Hancock website
(click on the image to enter the site) The author of books such as Fingerprints of the Gods and Heaven's Mirror in which he develops his theories concerning a lost civilisation. His arguments are not accepted by orthodox archaeology - for example, a BBC Horizon programme on Atlantis in 2000 sought to critically evaluate his theories. You can also see the nature of Graham Hancock's complaints about the programme and the subsequent adjudication by the Broadcasting Standards Commission, as well as Graham Hancock's contrasting interpretation of the outcome. You can view one of the programmes here.

Bad Archaeology
A website produced by Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews and James Doeser, who characterise themselves as Angry Archaeologists who are fed up with the distorted view of the past that passes for knowledge in popular culture.

The Exposure of Pseudoscience
A collection of rebuttals to a range of theories relating to ancient Egypt, ancient maps, alternative histories, and creationism, provided by Mikey Brass.

The Hall of Maat
A collection of articles looking at the evidence for alternative histories. Topics range across Nasca balloons, space travel in Bronze Age China, a number of debates about the Sphinx, through to various reviews of Graham Hancock's work. There are also some articles on "Archaeological Fantasies: How pseudoarchaeology misrepresents the past and misleads the public" and "Three Basic Principles of Archaeological Research", both by Garrett Fagan.

The Modern Antiquarian
A vast website based on Julian Cope's book of the same name, with detailed listings of prehistoric sites, plus comments, pictures etc. from many people. Complete with accompanying notes, most importantly including information about the nearest good pub ...

At the Edge
A now defunct magazine whose aim was to 'walk on the cracks' between archaeology, mythology and folklore and provide accessible insights for all with an interest in the latest and most innovative ideas about past and place. Its archive of articles can be found here.

Who's Fringe Now?
An article in Assemblage by Bob Trubshaw, editor of At the Edge, which looks at the relationship between 'fringe' and mainstream archaeologies

Archaeological/Skeptical Resources
Links to serious and cult archaeology, from Doug Weller. Includes links under headings such as cult archaeology, pyramidiots etc.

Institute of Druidic Technology
Read about ancient computers, and see the evidence in the form of a bronze mousepad and a flint mouse (otherwise known as a bronze mirror and a handaxe), an operating system for Celtic computers called RUNIX, and more ... er, they are joking, aren't they?

Creationism
A Talk.Origins article, looking at the different varieties of creationism with links to a range of associated websites. Headings include Intelligent Design Creationism, Flat Earth and Geocentric Universe, Young Earth and Old Earth Creationism, etc.

The Glasgow Network of Aligned Sites
A detailed guide to site alignments in and around Glasgow by Harry Bell.

Ancient astronauts and Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods
A commentary with associated links from the Skeptic's Dictionary, by Robert Carroll

Historical Reenactment
The wikipedia discussion and index of re-enactment groups, though far from complete. Some, like Regia Anglorum (an Anglo-Saxon group) and the Sealed Knot (English Civil War) have extremely extensive pages available.

Remains of Ancient Race of Job Creators Found in Rust Belt
Report in the The Onion on hitherto unknown mid-20th century job-creation society in North America...

Examples of Archaeological Open Air Museums and reconstructions

Butser Ancient Farm
The classic replica of the sort of farm which would have existed in the British Iron Age circa 300 BC.

Lejre Experimental Centre
A kind of Danish Butser: "The living past and experiences for all the senses. Animals, nature and fascinating prehistoric houses bring the past alive in one of Denmark’s most beautiful and fabled landscapes. There are adventures for your eyes, your nose and your ears."

Bede's World
Open-air museum of early Medieval Northumbria, with an Anglo-Saxon farm and monastery

Castell Henllys
Prehistoric promontory fort with reconstructed Iron Age built on their original foundations.

The Levi Jordan Plantation Project
A website based on the archaeological investigation of a nineteenth century plantation in Texas. It includes sections on the multiple pasts and different voices that can be seen and heard - not just that of the archaeologist.

Archaeological Virtual Worlds
Donald Sanders' website illustrating the use of virtual reality in archaeological reconstruction for educational purposes.