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The rise of Archaeologists Anonymous    History and Archaeology

Started 3-Dec by Apollonius (Theocritos); 313 views.

The equation of anonymity on the internet with deviance, mischief and hate has become a central plank in the global war on “misinformation”. But for many of us, anonymity has allowed us to pursue our passion for scholarly research in a way that is simply impossible within the censorious confines of modern academia. And so, in these hidden places, professional geneticists, bioarchaeologists and physical anthropologists have created a network of counter-research. Using home-made software, spreadsheets and private servers, detailed and rigorous work is conducted away from prying eyes and hectoring voices.

Many, like myself, are “junior researchers” or PhD drop-outs — people with one foot in the door but who recognise how precarious academic jobs are. Anonymity comes naturally to a younger generation of internet users, reared on forums and different social media platforms. They exploit the benefits and protections of not having every public statement forever attached to your person. I chose to start an anonymous profile during lockdown, a period which saw many professionals adopt a pseudonym as eyes turned to the internet and political positions emerged in relation to Covid, the presidential election and public demonstrations in the West.

Archaeology has always been a battleground, since it helps define and legitimise crucial subjects about the past, human nature and the history of particular nations and peoples. Most humanities disciplines veer to the Left today, explicitly and implicitly, but archaeology is the outlier. Instead, it is in the middle of an upheaval — one which will have deeply troubling consequences for many researchers who suddenly see decades of carefully managed theories crumble before their eyes.

In the absence of genetic data, it was once possible to argue that changes in the material record (objects and artefacts such as pottery, stone and metal tools, craft objects, clothing and so on) reflected some kind of passive or diffuse spread of technologies and fashions, but this is no longer the case. For instance, for many years students and the public were told that “pots are not people” — that new styles of pottery suddenly appearing in the record does not mean that new people had arrived with them  and the appearance of the so-called “Bell Beaker” pottery in the British Bronze Age showed how imitation and trade allowed new styles of ceramics to spread from the continent.

But in 2018, a bombshell paper proved this was fundamentally incorrect. In fact, nearly 90% of the population of Britain was replaced in a short period, corresponding to the movement of the Bell Beaker people into Britain and the subsequent disappearance of the previous Neolithic inhabitants. We know this because careful genetic work, building from paper to paper, shows clearly that the new arrivals were different people, with different maternal and paternal DNA. Papers like this appear almost weekly now. Most recently, the confirmation that the Anglo-Saxons did indeed arrive from northern Europe has caused many academics a great headache, since for years the very idea of an invasion of Germanic peoples has been downplayed and even dismissed.

What seems obvious to the general public — that prehistory was a bloody mess of invasions, migrations, battles and conflict — is not always a commonplace view among researchers. Worse, the idea that ancient peoples organised themselves among clear ethnic and tribal lines is also taboo. Obvious statements of common sense, such as the existence of patriarchy in the past, are constantly challenged and the general tone of academia is one of refutation: both of established theories and thinkers and of disagreeable parts of the past itself.

In reply toRe: msg 1

This is a very big issue in Canada.  Access to archaeological sites and authorization for publication of findings is strictly controlled, usually in the first instance by universities who fund and find personnel for the digs, but ultimately by Indigenous organizations and individual bands.   By now they usually claim rights to any artifacts and right of veto over dissemination of any information gained from these investigations.  In most instances these bands are relatively recent arrivals and in truth typically have no relationship to the peoples who occupied the ground that is being worked.  No matter.  They stake their claim and no one dares interfere.

Universities and individual researchers are keen to maintain friendly relations with the bands and with the Indigenous community at large.  Even more, they need to be careful to protect their own careers since making note of the wrong facts or make a claim of any kind that goes against the quasi-mythical interpretation of history now promoted in academia is a sure guarantee of cancellation.

From the article:

So this is where we are. If you want to learn about the Ymyyakhtakh culture, Corded-Ware linguistics, Denisovan genetics, Mississippian cultural collapse, post-glacial Mesolithic development or migrations to Madagascar, the anonymous internet is the place to go. In the absence of status and career concerns, researchers can turn exercise their obsession by thoroughly reviewing new papers in a way the current peer-review system does not allow. Without the self-imposed firewalls of specialisation erected by academic departments, anonymous accounts and blogs are free to roam across different disciplines, connecting the dots between mortuary archaeology, languages and religions in a way modern scholars simply cannot. Are there cranks and weirdos? Yes. But I know of several hundred former or current academics who are committed to this new form of research.

Not a (Pinck0)

From: Not a (Pinck0)


Haven't Canadians done this a long time ago? 

So now again Canada gets on a journey of settlement between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples. Sound like an essential expedition to address a long history of colonialism and the scars it has done... .


To a certain extent Indigenous bands and organizations have always been deferred to, but by now they are in complete control.   

It's analogous to energy projects and much other development where 'consultation' with Indigenous groups is required before proceeding.

Not a (Pinck0)

From: Not a (Pinck0)


Progress and advancement are showing up! thumbsup


From: Guard101


Absolutely, former MP Stephen Harper has done it a decade ago, but as well  known politicians like to rehash the issue for voting gains. wink

Not a (Pinck0)

From: Not a (Pinck0)


It seems that every new leader gets to taste a bit of the oppressive rhetoric! smiley_cat


From: BarthaS


Apparentl'y it's a vast editorial to be read,and analysed during daytime span with a long cup of coffee! 

Thanks.   wink


From: Guard101


It never ends, most people forgot that it was heard before....


Not a (Pinck0)

From: Not a (Pinck0)


"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

- Confucius feet