A creative archaeology letter about aliens by watching a short video
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Start this assignment by watching a recent episode linked below (“City of Gods”) video link: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5q25gf
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Archaeologists generally can’t stand Ancient Aliens, the History channel’s long-running
“documentary” series that explores alternative theories about ancient cultures. What’s the problem?
At best, the episodes are farfetched readings of the past that are devoid of empirical substance; at
worst, they represent pseudoarcheology that perpetuates misconceptions about the sophistication of
ancient peoples and their so-called dependence on alien visitations. At the same time, the show is
incredibly popular and serves as the primary source of archaeological “knowledge” to the public.
There’s no doubt that more people have seen Ancient Aliens than have interacted with
archaeology/archaeologists through digs, publications, talks, or even other TV shows. Perhaps, then,
we (archaeologists) are too uptight and overlook the redeeming aspects of the show.
Start this assignment by watching a recent episode linked below (“City of Gods”). You can certainly
watch others (if you have cable), and there are numerous clips and previews that relate to other parts
of the ancient world. Some of these are on the official website: https://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens. I’ve also attached two opinion articles that might be
This assignment is simple: I want you to draft a hypothetical “position” letter addressed to the studio
executive below that expresses your opinions and takes a stand for or against the show. You can write
a letter of support (think: “keep up the good work, don’t pay attention to those stiff archaeologists”)
OR a critical assessment (think: “this show is destroying our past and is ethically unsound! Take it
off!”). This is a creative assignment that you can take in various directions, but your letter should at
least critique specific elements (e.g., audio-visual style, content, or editing) of this episode. I’m not
grading your opinion, but rather the effectiveness, impact, and style of your arguments.
Address your letter to the guy in charge:
6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1800
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Your letter is directed at a major studio executive and should look professional:
The letter should be 1000 words or
less, single-spaced, and use between a 10- and 12-point font. Be succinct and ask yourself the
following as you craft/revise the letter: Would he bother to read beyond your first 50 words?
Have I presented a persuasive, well-reasoned case either for or against the show? Is my letter