Ancient Aliens

Ancient Aliens
a documentary

First broadcast on April 20, 2010
The premiere episode of the Ancient Aliens TV series, shown on History, a cable channel
Produced by Prometheus Entertainment


N O T E S :
There is a Wikipedia article on the series that is pretty good. Its account of the genesis of the series is not quite the way I remember it. It speaks of a 90-minute pilot with the series following. The way I remember it, History channel broadcast a two-hour episode, hence 90 minutes of real show. The first broadcast had every appearance of a one-off documentary. What I think happened is that the documentary got a lot of viewers. So they decided to make more episodes to see what happened. And what happened was healthy ratings. Much of the first season appears to be re-splicings of the original interviews with a lot of redundancy in content. The original 90-minute show covered the ancient alien theories pretty comprehensively; hence, the following episodes would have to be redundant. As the producers moved into the second season and beyond, they stretched the concept in several ways, linking ancient aliens to the founding fathers and that type of thing. Another tactic was that when a movie like Cowboys and Aliens came out, they produced an episode entitled Aliens and the Old West — nothing more than pop culture tied to pseudohistory.
— Ron Fritze



1. What are some of the influences that have made belief in visitations by aliens in ancient times seem more acceptable to the general public?

2. Describe the impact of Erik von Däniken in the topic of ancient aliens. What are von Däniken’s theories?

3. Various people appear as talking heads in this video. Identify them and list their credentials or expertise (if any). Also, indicate if you would classify them as believers in ancient aliens or skeptics.

  • Luis Navia
  • Michael Cremo
  • David Childress
  • Sara Seager
  • George Noory
  • Giorgio Tsoukolas
  • Robert R. Cargill
  • Ilia Delio
  • Javier Grillo-Marxuach
  • Barry H. Downing
  • Arthur Demarest
  • Michael Dennin
  • Todd Dishotell
  • Jason Martell
  • Michael Shermer

4. What is the role of science fiction in the modern popularity of ideas about ancient aliens?

5. How do ancient alien theories interpret the evidences listed below? How do mainstream skeptical scholars interpret the same evidence?

  • Piri Reis Map
  • Bagdad Batteries
  • Nazca Lines

6. How does the documentary compare the cargo cults of the Pacific Islanders at the end of World War II with the evidences for ancient aliens at Nazca?

7. Ancient alien theories are based on the ideas that ancient gods were actually visitors from outer space. The miracles of the ancient gods were actually the result of alien super-technology. Describe the details of the theories that ancient gods were aliens.

8. Ancient alien theorists identify various artifacts as depicting ancient astronauts. How convincing are such identifications?

9. What are the claims regarding Lord Pacqual’s sarcophagus and ancient aliens?

10. What claims do ancient alien theories make about the Egyptian and Central American pyramids?

11. What claims are made about the Easter Island moia and ancient aliens?

12. How does the documentary connect Easter Island with Tiwanaku in Bolivia? What is the significance of Puma Punku for ancient alien theorists?

13. What are the claims of ancient alien theorists about the following artifacts? How do skeptical scholars respond?

  • Antikythera Device
  • Dendera Temple light bulbs
  • Bagdad batteries

14. What claims are made about ancient astronomical knowledge and the archaeological sites at:

  • Teotihuacan
  • Stonehenge
  • Tikal

15. Ancient alien theorists claim that ancient accounts of visitors from outer space are consistent over time and all over the world. Is this true? Do theories about ancient aliens form a coherent whole like mainstream scientific theories or historical interpretations do?

16. Giorgio Tsoukolas claims that some evidence of ancient alien visitations has never been debunked. Is his claim credible?

17. Erik von Däniken claims that his theories will be confirmed in five-to-ten years. The copyright on this documentary is 2009. What do you think his chances are?

18. Which talking heads were believers and which were skeptics? Which talking heads did not express an opinion one way or the other? Were skeptics or believers given more time to talk? Were the skeptics allowed to give a rebuttal to every claim made by the ancient alien theorists?


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