'Disinformation' has been online since 1996. Its aim is to become an indispensable source of “alternative” news and information. To this end it has also published books, of which this is the latest. There is no evident checking or validation of the stories that they host, although this looks to be an intentional policy designed so as not to prejudge any particular strand or article. This very much throws the onus back onto the reader as to what they take away from the site. The same can be said about the published material.
This new publication is set firmly in the (comparatively) distant past and covers areas and subjects that are considered to be insufficiently explored and explained by the conventional contemporary academic viewpoint. Whilst this does not purport to be a comprehensive look at the world’s arguably anomalous sites and artifacts, there is much attention paid to well-trodden ground such as the Pyramids at Giza and several lesser-known (and certainly less-discussed) sites, especially the coverage of Nan Madol, a megalithic, prehistoric site in the Pacific.
Where all of these converge is that they offer alternative views to the existing disciplines of history and archaeology. Alternative they are, as well. Many of the more famous names in alternative archaeology are represented here, from the venerable Colin Wilson to Michael Cremo, John Anthony West, Robert Schoch and Graham Hancock, and even including the notorious author of Chariots of the Gods?. The extremes range from the least contentious, such as Troy Lovata’s 'Shovel Bum - The Life Archaeologic', which looks at the less glamorous side of life for archaeology’s foot soldiers, to the musings of Erich von Däniken of on whether aliens were flying hither and yon and dealing with humans in our past.
I have to admit to having a personal problem with any “information” originating from Herr von Däniken, due in no small part to his being convicted for fraud, and admissions that at least some of his writings were fabricated. I am afraid that, for me, this effectively undermines any attempt that he may make at convincing folk of an extraterrestrially-influenced past for Mankind. This, however, points up the vastly inclusive approach that Disinformation takes and, despite such pitfalls as dodgy authors, one that I can see some merit in as readers are presented with a wide array of data, which they can check for themselves rather than depending on another’s approval of such.
There are also some theories that take me back, although not as far back as the aeons looked at in this tome! I still have fond memories of the first time I read The Manna Machine, with its theory that the Ark of the Covenant was what was left of a technologically-advanced machine that created the manna consumed by the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness. The concept that the Old Testament contains artifacts that could be understood by contemporary scientists yet referred to by the ancient Hebrews using terms more understandable to them and their culture is not a new one, but this is an interesting twist and does not go over the old ground of Ezekiel’s Chariot. Similarly fascinating (and of a comparable vintage) is Christopher Dunn’s interpretation of the Great Pyramid at Giza as a power station that took the movement of the Earth’s crust and converted it into useful energy for the beings that created it.
This, then, is a one-stop shop for someone who would like a snapshot of the alternative archaeology scene, from the more reputable scholar’s opinion to that of some of the oldest, but not necessarily the most trustworthy, commentators. The general idea of the Disinformation people is to get their readers to think outside of the box and to consider that there may be some quite remarkable possibilities outside those put forward by, in this instance, current mainstream archaeologists, historians and scientists. There is no index, which is always a shame at the very least, but there are plenty of footnotes and bibliographies, including one put forward by the editor. There are also brief histories of the authors to be found at the back of the book. What is helpful is that the articles are grouped under subject headings, such as “Ancient Cities, Ancient Plans” and “Technologies and Contacts”.
All in all, this is a rather good place to start out from if one is new to the alternative archaeology scene, covering (as it does) themes both mild and wild. It is not even a bad place to recap from if you have a degree of knowledge of some of the areas covered here. There is one large footnote that should be borne in mind due to Disinformation’s inclusive policy, however - caveat lector! – Trevor Pyne.