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Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology [Paperback]

Kenneth Feder
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology 4.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

November 1, 2010 007811697X 978-0078116971 7
Committed to the scientific investigation of human antiquity, this indispensable supplementary text uses interesting archaeological hoaxes, myths, and mysteries to show how we can truly know things about the past through science. Examples of fantastic findings support the carefully, logically, and entertainingly described flaws in the purported evidence. By placing wildly inaccurate claims within the context of the scientific method, Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries demonstrates how science approaches fascinating questions about human antiquity and, in so doing, shows where pseudoscience falls short.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Feder obtained his B.A. in anthropology in 1973 from the State University of New York at Stonybrook. He obtained his M.A. in anthropology in 1975 from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. from the same institution in 1982. He has taught in the Department of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University since 1977 where he is now a full professor. His primary research interests include the archaeology of the native peoples of New England and the analysis of public perceptions about the human past. He is the founder and director of the Farmington River Archaeological Project, a long-term investigation of the prehistory of the Farmington River Valley. He is the author and co-author of several books including: Human Antiquity: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology (with Michael Park; now in its fifth edition; McGraw-Hill); Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology (about to appear in its seventh edition; McGraw-Hill); The Past In Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory (about to appear in its fifth edition; Oxford University Press); and Linking to the Past: A Brief Introduction to Archaeology (now in its second edition; Oxford University Press). Finally, he is the author of A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site (Mayfield Publishing). When he's not digging in the dirt or writing books, he likes to hang out with his one wife, two kids, and four very bad cats.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 7 edition (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007811697X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0078116971
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book; Kindle edition overpriced January 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I listened to Dr. Feder on the Monster Talk podcast and found him so engaging that I decided to purchase this book. It turned out to be a worthwhile purchase.

The book is intended to be a textbook but don't be put off by that. The book reads quite well; Feder is as good a writer as he is a speaker. His prose is quite accessible with many pop culture references like comparing Neanderthals to the cavemen in Geico commercials and comparing Plato's Atlantis story to Star Wars. It is also an interesting way to teach archeology (although anthropology and paleontology are also touched on extensively), contrasting bad, psuedo-archeology with the real deal. It entertains while teaching. I'm convinced that Feder is very popular at Central Connecticut State.

The title is quite accurate; frauds (Cardiff giant, Piltdown man), myths (Atlantis, ancient astronauts), and mysteries (Moundbuilders, pre-Columbian America) are covered in many chapters. Most of the subjects were familiar to me except for the Moundbuilders but Feder had entertaining and original takes on all subjects.

I purchased what Amazon describes as a "print replica, Kindle edition". This means you can't read it on a traditional Kindle only on a Kindle application for a PC or iPad or other tablet. Fortunately, I have an iPad and read it on that. The book is formatted something like a pdf file. The book read fine when expanded to eliminate margins but it is tedious to do so repeatedly for every page. Anyone know if Kindle for iPad can preserve sizing from page to page? If so, I couldn't figure it out.

Highly recommended if one can afford the textbook pricing. It's come down since I purchased it but it is still somewhat high for mass market appeal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Supplemental Text on Pseudo Archaeology December 7, 2011
Now in its tenth edition, Feder's book lays out clearly the world of pseudo archaeology for students who are interested in archaeology and were originally seduced into learning about the science by reading or watching television specials about the many frauds and myths of history. Countering the false knowledge possessed by students is a daunting task and Feder probably disappointed many of his students by revealing the falsity of myths such as Atlantis by using the scientific method rather than the fantasies and wishful thinking of many of the proponents of alternate histories. Not that this very readable book will shed any light on the muddled thinking of the fans of pseudoscience. But it will undoubtedly educate young learners whose minds have not been frozen by the fake history too common in the mass media.
If there is one failure of Feder's book it is that it is too short. Archaeology is filled with other examples of bad science, both by pseudoscientists and real scientists, that could easily extend this book by another 200 pages. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best "textbook" I've ever bought! September 8, 2011
By B. Vaca
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most entertaining school assigned books I have ever read. The writing is easy and the subject matter is interesting. I also enjoy the way it is organized.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frauds, Myths, Mysteries January 3, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Purchased this textbook for a class I took last semester entitled "ancient mysteries". My professor attempted to utilize this book as a college "textbook", but instead failed miserably in applying the concepts. However, the subject matter is very interesting and I was able to read this book in one sitting during an acute visit to the emergency room. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in exploring some of the popular ancient mysteries that tend invigorate popular culture. Best price, fast shipping. Overall, a great read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A word on Atlantis December 9, 2010
In regards to the many reviews that reference Atlantis as possibly being a real place from some distant past here are a few thoughts. The view that Atlantis existed is purely an Anglo ethnocentric fallacy. Here are some reasons why. First, most of the people who claim that Atlantis existed cannot read the ancient Hellenic language of Attica. If they could, it would be clear to the reader that what Plato wrote when he referenced Atlantis is a description of an ideal city and not a real city. Nothing beats reading the original text. This includes, Santorini or its ancient name of Thera as a possible source for Atlantis. Second, nowhere in any other text in the ancient Hellenic language through the Roman Latin is Atlantis written about as a real place. Third, we find no ancient art, paintings, mosaic, etc.. depicting Atlantis. Fourth, we know most of the ancient, and most important, mythologies of the Hellenic people. Again, you will find not even one reference to a place like Atlantis. So, tell me. If Atlantis was a real city, with the reputation it has today, why do we not find physical evidence for it in the culture of ancient Hellenic society? One last note I want to make. If you visit Greece today and ask anyone about Atlantis get ready to get laughed at for believing such a ridicules story. People who claim that Atlantis is real claim Dr. Feder has some agenda. I do not think anyone really cares if Atlantis is real or not. There is no money to be won in some contest. If we found any evidence to the contra then Archeologist would be more than pleased to accept it. The fact is that they have not found any. Anyone who does believe Atlantis is real can only claim its name to be true. No other information exists about the place. Read more ›
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