Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BS (Bachelor of Science)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2018

Honors Major Advisor

Margaret Beck

Thesis Mentor

Katina Lillios


The belief that in the ancient past, our ancestors were visited by extraterrestrials has enraptured audiences. Ancient alien theorists find ‘proof’ of these visitations in the many prehistoric archaeological sites. These theories have persisted for decades despite the wishes of many in academia—most especially archaeologists who are most closely associated with and work on many of the sites where supposed ‘evidence’ can be found. Academic archaeologist are quick to denounce these theories and distance themselves from those they consider ‘pseudoarchaeologists’ or non-scientific theorists. It is my argument that pseudoarchaeology and academic archaeology are not in fact related disciplines that came out of the theoretical framework of culture historical archaeology of the nineteenth century. My paper focuses on three case studies: Great Zimbabwe, the Moundbuilders, and Stonehenge as exemplars of cultural historical thought and theory regarding race during this period. These case studies are then compared to the theories of Erich von Däniken, the author of Chariots of the Gods?, a worldwide bestseller and one of the most recognizable pseudoarchaeological texts.


Pseudoarchaeology, Archaeology, Ancient Aliens, Culture Historical Archaeology

Total Pages

23 pages


Copyright © 2018 Rebekah Gansemer