Pyramidiots and Popular Culture

The history of ancient Egypt has long been an object of great interest for mankind. As we discussed in class, since the fourth century B.C. when Herodotus first described Egypt in his narrative, “The Histories”, people from all over the world have been fascinated by the large pyramids and monuments rising from the Giza Plateau. Although scientists and archaeologists have been studying this region since the time of Napoleon’s rule, and have a very accurate idea of Egyptian history and the building of the pyramids, there are still plenty of myths and conspiracies surrounding them that are largely perpetuated by popular culture and media.

The idea that ancient aliens and lost civilizations assisted the Egyptians in the building of the pyramids is not a new one. Although these “theories” began in the 18th and 19th centuries, they have been elevated in modern culture through television and movies to their own genre of science fiction. For example, in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, although it is not centered around Egyptian history, the film shows Indiana Jones discovering ancient aliens behind the construction of great archaeological sites. The second movie in the “Transformers” series also shows that that the Earth was visited by extraterrestrial beings and the pyramids were built by them as clues to their history and mysterious knowledge. In addition, films such as “The Mummy” emphasize mystic origins and curses of the pyramids, and documentaries shown on the History Channel and Discovery Channel even discuss the potential of unknown origins and lost civilizations. These movies and shows are so popular in today’s media that the fictional ideas continue to be adapted into new versions and plot lines. All of this enhances the myths and mysteries of the building of the pyramids and the architectural abilities of the ancient Egyptians.

The main issue surrounding these theoretical claims is that conspiracy theorists believe that the scientific findings are fake, and are being used to cover up what actually happened in the history of ancient Egypt. These conspiracies are then shown to the public who, without any prior knowledge of scientific facts, readily believe these ideas. The ideas are then picked up by popular media and expanded upon even more. Archaeologists, continue to study the pyramids and publish actual evidence of the pyramids’ construction, but because of the nature of popular culture, the pyramidiot’s ideas will most likely never be completely eliminated from public opinion.

2 thoughts on “Pyramidiots and Popular Culture

  1. This is a really interesting point! I never connected the media and their obsession with trying to make things seem ‘out of this world’ (pun intended), with aliens behind the pyramids. This actually reminds me of a small scene at the end of the credits from the movie X-Men: Days of Futures Past, where there is a ‘mutant’ building the pyramids. As if, the pyramids were created not by humans but with someone who holds greater power than mere mortals. The problem nowadays is that most people believe what they see on TV, almost without question. Like you mentioned, media just continues the line of discovery even further to include more ridiculous plots of how the pyramids really came to be.

  2. I find it interesting the point you raise that these ideas that the pyramidiots believe in will probably never go away. I must say that I would have to agree. Like you mentioned, these extraordinary ideas have become so prominent in popular culture that many people begin to believe that these wild and mystical proposals are true. It becomes even more troubling when people begin to refuse to believe fact. As you said, the pyramidiots seem to reject all sound evidence provided by archaeologists and chalk it up to falsities and misinterpretation. They would rather believe that their magical ideas are the absolute truth instead of looking at real science. This raises quite an issue as if scientific evidence is not enough to change their minds, then what is? It seems almost impossible to convince them otherwise, which if their ideas and ways of thinking catch on becomes very troubling for archaeology, as support for the work of archaeologists may eventually be trumped by the ludicrous ideas of the pyramidiots.

    I think part of the problem is that problem is that people are too eager for there to be some magical or otherworldly explanation for easily explained things that they readily turn on truth. Like how you mentioned Indiana Jones and Transformers, the idea that ancient robots or aliens built the pyramids instead of ordinary human beings seems so wonderful that you begin to want the far-fetched to be real. I think that as long as this desire is present and as long as popular culture seems to accept these ideas as possible that we will never see the disappearance of the pyramidiots as you said, which is quite unfortunate.

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