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They Call It Bad Archaeology

Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology


That is the name of their website. Bad Archaeology and we have known about the people behind that website for years. While not specifically intended, they represent the group of people that helped motivate us to write Archaeology & the Unwary Believer as well as Archaeology: What You Need to Know.

This article will go through one of their web pages today and point out why they are not to be listened to even though they are experienced archaeologists.

Bad Archaeology: exposing frauds, misconceptions and distortions

This would be fine if these men actually had the truth, had the Spirit of Truth helping them, and that they did not let their own personal beliefs, or lack thereof, influence their opinions, conclusions, and hypothesis.

There are frauds out there both in the secular arm of Archaeology as well as in the theological arm and the alien arm. We do agree with them on their dissent against the alien wing of the research field.

However, their outright dismissal of important data simply because it doesn’t fit their idea of archaeology shows why they are not to be listened to.

James and I are fed up with the distorted view of the past that passes for knowledge in popular culture. We are unhappy that books written by people with no knowledge of real archaeology dominate the shelves at respectable bookshops.

We do not care that they are fed up. Those people do have the right to write what they want and under free speech laws, they can write what they want. it does not matter if the people at Bad Archaeology do not like it. Those authors have the same freedoms that Bad Archaeology enjoy

We disagree a lot with the people at Bad Archaeology but we do not try to remove their rights to publish their dissent to biblical events, etc. We will point out why their dissent is wrong but they are free to publish their opinions.

They would have a leg to stand on IF they were actually telling the truth and not just dismissing those they disagree with because their beliefs contradict the authors of the works they do not like.

We have to say it, they are not doing real archaeology. They are doing a scientific version that hides the truth and leaves a lot of information buried for no real reason. Waiting for ‘new technology’ that may never come is a cop-out and an escape from the reality of the past.

In short, we are Angry Archaeologists

Let them be angry. They are not bringing the truth to the world. They are bringing their concept of the past to the public and they are as wrong as those they are angry at.

We are angry at them, in a sense, because they think they are the only ones who know how to do archaeology and everybody else is wrong. That is scientific arrogance and the wrong pride to have.

In examining their work, they are far from the truth and should not be criticizing anyone else.

Archaeology is extraordinarily diverse. From the field technicians knee deep in mud in a Hebridean winter to the Classical specialist examining frescoes on a wall at Pompeii, from the geneticist tracing ancient bovine DNA to the linguist refining our understanding of Maya inscriptions…

No, archaeology is basically the same no matter where you do it. You are digging into the past using whatever clues and physical evidence you may uncover.

Unfortunately for these people, archaeology cannot see into the past. it can only look at mute evidence and make assumptions about what they see. It doesn’t matter the method used.

For example, one option is to look at the ancient diet of previous civilizations. It may be discovered that one person, like the bog person both from years ago and most recently, ate a specific dish.

Many archaeologists will extrapolate those stomach contents and apply them to the rest of the society that person belonged to. They would be wrong as that may have been a hunting, traveling, or special occasion meal and not a regular dietary option.

Even today, we have people, especially top chefs, who cook one meal for one occasion and another for their daily consumption. If they happened to die after the former meal, then archaeologists would get the wrong idea when they happened upon their bodies with the stomach contents intact.

the range of specialisms and viewpoints is enormous

Yes, that is true and that is what makes archaeology confusing. The confusion turns people off of learning about the past, even though there are ancient farming techniques that would be valuable to modern farmers to use today.

But as you can see by those few words, they are not distinguishing those fields of research and viewpoints. They just accept the data and assume the information is true even though that information is coming from deceived people who do not know the truth.

That is not real archaeology but makes the field someone’s toy to play with as they see fit. The rules of ‘real archaeology’ are not that great either. They allow for any data no matter how far-fetched to be accepted while rejecting the truth at the same time.

Nevertheless, there are commonalities of approach and boundaries to that diversity, united by what may be termed ‘the scientific method’.

This is the problem in archaeology. far too many archaeologists have adopted the ‘scientific method’ as the way to do archaeology. It does not matter that science and the scientific method are not an authority on the past.

Nor does it matter that the ‘scientific method’ is so full of flaws and assumptions that it is not very useful to garner the truth from any of the discoveries made.

They like it because the scientific method excludes God and the truth from their work. They get to ‘do’ science even though that method leaves them in the dark pursuing false ideas and wastes everyone’s time.

If you return to the site time and again, you will find that we update our pages when new information comes along, correcting errors that we have made. This is something that Bad Archaeologists never do.

They may update pages but we do not know if they do as we have not been to their website in years. We will check as we go through this series on their website.

Bad archaeologists make too many changes and forget that the truth is the truth. it never changes. Once you find the truth, your work is almost done and you can move on to the next subject you need to explore.

Bad scientists and archaeologists think that the truth changes and must be altered in future years. This is wrong as it undermines the credibility of both science and archaeology. if the previous information called truth is now declared false, how can anyone know if the new information is actually true or not.

Both the scientist and archaeologists have ruined their chance at being seen as someone credible and who knows what they are talking about. Archaeologists do not have any abilities or special insight into the past.

Anyone can do archaeology if they are searching for the actual truth and not trying to create fanciful theories that fit their preferences or how they would like the past to be.

I (Keith) have received personal abuse, insults, complaints to my employer (!) and have even been threatened with legal action over some pages and posts. I am not put off. We will continue to dig away, exposing Bad Archaeology wherever we find it.

This works both ways and many Christian archaeologists receive even rougher treatment than these two are reporting. They should not be whining as they are not the first to receive criticism, threats, and other negative responses.

However, they are not really exposing bad archaeology unless they start with themselves first. They are not perfect and they do not have the truth so they are not exposing bad archaeology. They are just trying to remove the competition.

Their definition of bad archaeology is not going to be the same as another person’s definition. They are not an objective set of professionals. They are merely providing another in a long line of subjective opinions as they do not want to hear the truth.

Plus, they are not the last word on what real or bad archaeology is.

© 2021 David Thiessen

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