Don’t get me wrong — I actually enjoy watching the TV show Ancient Aliens. But the show, which airs on the History channel, contains very little information that is truly historically accurate.
Of course, the experts who appear on the show would tell you that mainstream archaeologists, scientists, and other professionals are simply ignoring the vast amount of evidence that supports their theories.
But how qualified are these so-called experts to interpret this information? How complete is their knowledge of ancient civilizations and the types of texts, structures, art, and artifacts that they present as evidence? In short, do they really know what they’re talking about?
To help answer these questions, I’ve done some research about the basic credentials of some of the experts who most regularly appear as part of the Ancient Aliens cast. We all know that credentials aren’t everything, but you would expect at least some of them to be trained archaeologists or art historians or something, wouldn’t you?
The information I’ve found is laid out below, and my sources are listed at the end. You can draw your own conclusions.
You would probably recognize Giorgio Tsoukalos as the one whose hair is as wild as his theories. In addition to appearing on camera, he is a consulting producer of Ancient Aliens. According to his website, he has a bachelor’s degree in Sports Information Communications from Ithaca College in New York, and he worked as a professional bodybuilding promoter until 2005. In 1998 he became the director and co-founder (along with Erich von Daniken) of the Center for Ancient Astronaut Research, and he publishes the ancient astronaut-themed magazine Legendary Times. Impressively, Tsoukalos is fluent in five languages and has traveled to at least 54 countries.
Erich von Daniken is apparently regarded as the father of the ancient astronaut theory. The only information I could find about his educational background is that he attended College St-Michel in Fribourg, Switzerland, “where already as a student he occupied his time with the study of the ancient holy writings,” according to his website. As for whether he holds a degree or what his educational focus actually was, I do not know. What I did find out is that he published his first book on the subject of ancient aliens while working as a manager at a five-star hotel. That was in 1968, and since then, his career has centered around his expert status as an ancient alien theorist.
My favorite member of the Ancient Aliens cast of experts is David Childress. According to his website, he briefly attended the University of Montana, where he studied oriental culture and philosophy, but he left the United States at the age of 19 to begin “a six-year research and adventure odyssey” that apparently never ended. He writes books about his travels and theories, and he also publishes a magazine called World Explorer. (Fun fact: the websites of both Tsoukalos and Childress proclaim each to be known as the “real-life Indiana Jones.”)
Graham Hancock certainly comes across as knowledgeable, so let’s take a look at his credentials. On his website we learn that he holds a First Class Honours degree in Sociology from the University of Durham. After college, he became a journalist and wrote for British newspapers such as The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, and The Guardian. From 1976 to 1979 he was co-editor of New Internationalist magazine, and from 1981 to 1983 he was the East Africa correspondent for The Economist. From the early ’80s on, he’s been writing one book after another on various topics, including some about his theories concerning ancient civilizations.
Robert Bauval is an interesting guy. According to a biography on Graham Hancock’s website, Bauval has a degree in Building Construction and Management from the University of the South Bank in London. From 1973 to 1985 he did work on construction projects around Africa and the Middle East. After that, he apparently started doing independent research and publishing articles and books about his theories. To his credit, he does utilize his construction knowledge by mostly putting forth theories that involve the Great Pyramids and other structures at Giza.
If you also watch the History channel’s UFO Files, then you have a pretty good idea what Bill Birnes does with his time. According to History’s biography of him, Birnes holds a law degree and also got his PhD from New York University. He has written a number of books on an assortment of topics, including criminology and the paranormal.
These are not the only proponents of the ancient astronaut theory who have ever been featured as part of the Ancient Aliens cast, but they are some of the most regular contributors. If there are others who you feel should be included here, feel free to leave their names in the comments section below.
About Wexclub, World Explorers Club.
Bill Birnes, History.com.
Biography, The Official Graham Hancock Website.
Black Genesis, The Official Graham Hancock Website.
Erich von Daniken Biography, Daniken.com.
Erich von Daniken, History.com.
Giorgio A. Tsoukalos: Short Biographical Sketch, LegendaryTimes.com.