The lecture will take place in room 2017 Dunton Tower (20th floor) starting at 1:00 p.m. followed by a reception at 2:30 p.m.
Steph Halmhofer, Bones, Stones, and Books bonesstonesandbooks.com – Oct 19
#InventedFantasies – Using Social Media to Talk About Pseudoarchaeology
Skeletons of giants in British Columbia. People using psychic abilities to find proof that the empire of Atlantis included Nova Scotia. A cult in Quebec proposing aliens invented life on Earth. These sound like something you would find Dana Scully and Fox Mulder investigating in The X-Files. But I’m not Dana Scully, I’m an archaeologist. So why am I talking about aliens and giants? Because pseudoarchaeology, which includes the topics I’ve mentioned above, is a real concern facing both archaeologists and non-archaeologists. These theories can be found in books, television shows, and on social media but their negative impacts reach far beyond these pages and screens.
With rising popularity in social media and a currently combined total of around 440 million monthly users on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it’s not difficult to imagine how quickly pseudoarchaeological theories can spread online. But just as we use our knowledge and trowels, social media can also be a powerful tool in the archaeological toolkit, a toolkit I want to share through this lecture. We’ll talk about what pseudoarchaeology is, focusing largely on Canadian examples, and how you can identify it. We’ll talk about the racism of pseudoarchaeology. We’ll also talk about how various media platforms are used to spread pseudoarchaeology. And finally, we’ll talk about how archaeologists and non-archaeologists can use social media to talk about and de-bunk pseudoarchaeology.