ArchaeoCafé Podcast – Episode 2-14 – Pseudoarchaeology: An interview with Stephanie Halmhofer

hosted by Otis Crandell and Tommy Ng

In this episode we talk with Stephanie Halmhofer about pseudoarchaeology and her research on topics such as the ancient aliens hypothesis and hyperdiffusionism.

Listen to this episode online:



Some useful terminology and links

Interpretations of the past from outside the archaeological science community, which reject the accepted data gathering and analytical methods of the discipline.

Statements, beliefs, or practices that claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method.

ancient aliens hypothesis
A pseudoarchaeological hypothesis which suggests that intelligent extraterrestrial beings visited Earth and made contact with humans in ancient history and that this contact influenced the development of modern cultures, technologies, religions, and human biology. Two well-known proponents are Erich von Däniken and Giorgio Tsoukalos.

A pseudoarchaeological hypothesis suggesting that certain historical technologies or ideas originated with a single people or civilization before their adoption by other cultures. A frequent aspect of hyperdiffusionism is that the similarities among unrelated cultures are explained as having been inherited from the civilization of a lost continent (for example, Atlantis, Mu, or Lemuria) which has since sunk into the sea. Many of Graham Hancock’s books involve examples of hyperdiffusionism.


Selected reading

Beyond crusades: how (not) to engage with alternative archaeologies
by Cornelius Holtorf
World Archaeology. 2005, Vol. 37(4): p. 544–51.

Cult Archaeology and Creationism: Understanding Pseudoscientific Beliefs about the Past
edited by Francis B. Harrold and Raymond A. Eve
published by University of Iowa Press in 1995. ISBN 9780877455134

Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public
edited by Garrett G. Fagan
published by Routledge in 2006. ISBN 9780415305938

Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology (9th edition)
by Kenneth L. Feder
published by Oxford University Press in 2017. ISBN 9780190629656


About Stephanie Halmhofer

Stephanie is a doctoral student at the University of Alberta. Her thesis research focuses on the ways cults in North America use archaeology and pseudoarchaeology to build and support their mythical origins, and how cults impact the archaeological landscape. Her previous research has also included the study of glass beads, osteological analyses of human skeletal remains, and museum collection cataloguing and exhibition.




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