Skip to main content

Archaeologist Explains Why We Should Be Very Skeptical Of "Ancient Aliens" Claims

It's problematic.

Many people believe that aliens have and continue to visit our planet. Even the U.S. government is finally admitting to the existence of the UFO phenomenon. But although there are many claims about alien presences on Earth that one should view with a great amount of skepticism, perhaps the one that is the most questionable is the popular claim that many wonders of the ancient world are proof of alien influence on early human development. This theory is wildly popular, with television shows and books and pop-culture articles devoted to it propagation, but many in the field of archaeology decry it as not only inaccurate, but also highly problematic.

The problem with the idea of “ancient aliens” building technological marvels around the world is that it diminishes and erases the craftsmanship and genius of actual ancient human cultures of the world, many of which originate in places where the racist path of colonialism have done much to erase the very real cultural history.


In this Twitter thread, archaeologist Ken Feder breaks down why the “ancient alien” theory, though entertaining, erases the very real and wonderful work done by ancient cultures of Mesoamerica, Africa, and Asia. Feder, whose own interest in the field was first sparked by reading fantastical accounts of aliens and Atlantis as a child, has gone on to critique the pseudoscience that is the popular view of his field.

“For some non-scientists, however, when they encounter a very sophisticated aspect of technology among a past people, their initial takeaway is ‘There’s no way these primitives could have accomplished this without outside help,’” he writes on Twitter. “There’s the racism. Racism? Yes because the incapable primitives needing ‘outside help’ are nearly always brown skinned.”

He goes on to explain how these theories cherry pick evidence, imagining that these marvels just popped up out of nowhere, when real archeologists understand they are the world of thousands of years of development in architecture, engineering, and other studies in cultures that history has not actually forgotten, even if pop culture does.