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Feb 25 2012

“IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!”

There isn’t that much difference between a trained archaeologist and a professional wrestler, is there? Look at the new depradations encouraged by reality TV:

There’s nothing more exciting than digging for treasure, and that’s just what SPIKE TV’s new unscripted original series, American Digger is going to do when it premiers on March 20 at 10/9c. Former professional wrestler Ric Savage and the American Savage team have the tools, knowhow, and instincts, and are ready to show everyone what could just be hidden beneath your backyard if you give them the chance.

American Digger will showcase Ric Savage and his crew trekking across the country each week, from Chicago, IL to Jamestown, VA and everywhere in between. Once the team identifies an area they think is ripe with high-value artifacts and relics, they’ll have to convince the current homeowner to give them permission to dig up their backyard. If American Savage is persuasive enough, they’ll get a chance to dig up the tenant’s backyard using their state-of-the-art equipment, and divide the cash they get from selling the artifacts they find there with the tenant.

Savage and his crew definitely have an eye for artifact-rich areas, and will seek out historic sites as a result. These areas are home to great finds, as the team uncovers old relics in the show such as a 5 million year old Megalodon shark’s tooth. American Savage is the top artifact recovery company in the United States and is made up of Ric Savage’s wife Rita, who manages the business, battlefield historian Bob Buttafuso, recovery expert Rue Shumate, and Giuseppe, his 25-year old son.

Shark’s teeth aren’t a big deal, but having a team of hacks charge into a historical site to dig up and sell everything they find sounds like a horror story.

69 comments

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  1. 1
    Glen Davidson

    I’m betting that it’ll be fairly boring, and maybe it’ll be cancelled soon after starting. And I expect most of it will be shark teeth, bottles, and other old artifacts of minimal archaeological value.

    But other things will be what have been off-limits to archaeologists because it’s private land. At the least, they need to be seriously pressured to excavate properly whenever it’s a real one-of-a-kind historic site. Treasure-hunting and archaeology can be fairly harmonious, like it has been for many shipwreck discoveries–where archaeologists often are allowed to study and record what they could never have found and studied on their own.

    If the dynamite shows up, though, all bets are off.

    Glen Davidson

  2. 2
    feralboy12

    I’m envisioning more Al Capone’s Vault-type scenarios where they build excitement to a feverish pitch with tantalizing possibilities, only to end the episode peering pensively at old wine bottles. That may, however, be some sort of ingrained inability on my part to take professional wrestlers seriously.
    Killed By Fish

  3. 3
    otrame

    e9aeghri0-9gq3
    y340y349t40-it2-.k
    8gj26dik36965tijphmp89
    vwu90=,aiqyquvy,
    mhqu,9cti0.u90,yw5qy38ir
    x-.o=ctuvwy,qty47qtx=ociy9cmqy
    8qtu8-q.ciqytux2

    ^^^^^
    Recently retired archaeologist bangs head repeated on her keyboard.

    —–
    In the first place, archaeology is the study of PEOPLE not friggin sharks’ teeth, however big.

    In the second place, if a real site is going to be dug at all, it needs to be dug correctly, because, guess what? They’ve quit making them.* And guess what else? Digging a site destroys it.

    FSM on a pogo stick, we have enough problems with looters as is. People cut fences so they can get equipment onto someone else’s property to tear into a site, looking for “arrowheads” and destroying all the other information that was in the site. People think public property means they can dig things up and keep them.

    Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhhh

    *More accurately, sites are being “made” all the time, but those are for archaeologist of the future. But the sites that we are interested in today are being destroyed at an appalling rate, mostly do to the spread of towns and cities, and sometimes because of natural things like erosion, but looting also destroys large numbers of them.

    If this takes off, it is going to get worse.

    Fuck!

  4. 4
    Stella

    No. I’ve spent the past two days reading about Paleolithic sites in Virginia. Dennis Stanford talks about not having money and equipment to search the continental shelves around the US east coast and off Europe.

    Really, who cares about the history of Paleolithic peoples when there’s money to be made. Shame!

    Stell

  5. 5
    raven

    They are a bit late but they should have been there for the Baghdad museum hunt.

    Now that was an artifact rich area.

    I remember seeing the Code of Hammurabi for sale on ebay shortly afterwards.

  6. 6
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    Doesn’t sound like Time Team no. There people are willing to have their back yards dug up by professional archeologists and as far as I know aren’t motivated by wanting treasure.

  7. 7
    Glen Davidson

    BTW, the Creation “Museum” was very recently at 6315 votes in the 15 places kids should see by 15, at http://tinyurl.com/7z3fymw, while #2:Smithsonian Museum of American History, DC is at 6449 votes, and #1:U.S. Space and Rocket Center, AL is at 6664 votes. If current trends continue, the stupid place will be at #2 fairly soon, in a day or two, and might reach #1 by the end of the voting period (Feb. 28, IIRC).

    OT, I know, but it looks like the creationists keep voting, while the science side–less numerous by far, of course–is not so much. So I want to at least bring the problem up where it might be seen by, say, PZ.

    Glen Davidson

  8. 8
    raven

    Buncha wimps really. About what you expect from pro wrestlers.

    Everyone knows the best digging is in remote unstable parts of the world with negligible law enforcement.

    Why don’t they do a treasure hunt in Afghanistan instead to make it more sporting and exciting?

    Afghanistan is rich in archaeological sites dating back thousands of years. To make it more exciting, there are any number of armed groups operating in the area. And aerial video would be easy, what with all those drones flying around.

  9. 9
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Yes, goofy pseudo-archaeologist treasure hunters do belong in a museum. “Look, this is how stupid people used to be about fossils and antiquities and the sites in which they were found.”

    So, more or less entertainment value than Meteorite Men?

    Which brings to mind science programming, which has to be fast-paced and “exciting” with lots of graphics which make no sense whatsoever just so people will watch it. Yet other shows can film hours of a group of morons continuously mucking about to no end. The hell?

  10. 10
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I didn’t think I could despise reality TV any more than I already did. Apparently, it’s possible.

    I hope they get doors slammed into their faces wherever they go. (I know, they’ll find prey easily. People are stupid and greedy.)

  11. 11
    John Morales

    Ariaflame,

    Doesn’t sound like Time Team no.

    Sure it does; it’s just the American version.

    (There’ll probably be explosions!)

  12. 12
    magistramarla

    I think that this is the American answer to Time Team. At least the Time Team was composed of real archaeologists, sponsored by a real university. Sometimes the Time Team was allowed to excavate just before a site would be destroyed forever by a new building going up, or paved over by a new road being built. Those were the times that the Time Team was quite valuable. Otherwise, I prefer to see sites done the right way.
    I have the feeling that this ex-wrestler is just going to make messes.

  13. 13
    laughingmadly

    “…dig up the tenant’s backyard using their state-of-the-art equipment…”

    After having dug at a site on private property in the Southwest that had been previously “explored”, or more literally bulldozed, by treasure hunters looking for gold (no gold, if you were curious, just the destruction of what was described as an early catholic mission) I find this horrible! The idea that a potentially valuable site might be lost cause this idiot wants to play some combination of Indiana Jones and American Pickers, appalling! lets hope it really is just hype that ends in bottles and cans from the 50s… maybe some colorful glass telephone pole insulators

  14. 14
    cmv

    The whole thing sounds ridiculous and destructive, but I like that “across the country” apparently now means from the East Coast to Chicago.

  15. 15
    municipalis

    John Morales:

    Sure it does; it’s just the American version. (There’ll probably be explosions!)

    I find American stuff tends to actually be more about explosive emotions than straight-up explosions. Compare the UK and American versions of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares: the UK version is a fairly entertaining look at the business of restaurant management from the perspective of a master chef; the US version is a show about family drama, with occasionaly profanity-laced commentary from a Scottish guy.

  16. 16
    andrewbrown not the one from the grauniad

    When I first saw this I misread it as Ric Shaggy and his team. Couldn’t help picturing Scooby-Doo and the crew running around looking for “clues”

  17. 17
    Gregory Greenwood

    I am getting something of a Time Team-for-idiots vibe from this.

    Tony Robinson will not be amused…

    Why can’t more American televison by like Mythbusters? I like that show, damn it, but so much of the other stuff that comes out of the States seems to involve one type of moronic woo or another and/or to act as a transparent vehicle whereby Z-list celebrities try in vain to resuscitate their flat-lining careers.

    *Grumble*… Greedy TV executives… *mutter*… all they care about is ratings… *grumble*… pandering to the lowest common denominator… *mutter*…

  18. 18
    Atticus Dogsbody

    @Gregory Greenwood: Sorry, but Aussies came up with Mythbusters.

  19. 19
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Why can’t more American televison by like Mythbusters?

    You do realize it is produced by Aussies? It isn’t American television.

  20. 20
    Rey Fox

    Ric Savage, so do you!

  21. 21
    unclefrogy

    I would expect that it will be just as real as the rest of the reality TV shows.
    It may “look” like a real dig on a TV cop show even but I will bet even money that the dig will be planted or salted with treasures to find.
    Some sites they might consider are old 18th & 19th century privies or old frontier dumps.
    It will be about as “real” as storage wars or storage hunters.
    The only good part will be an indication of how hard it will be to find the places to dig and obtain the permissions. Some places may even require permits and such. The other will be in seeing examples of the things that can be found, what work it may be to get them into salable condition and what they may be worth.
    Antiques road show meets gold fever
    meets pawn stars.
    more money will be made by the show than they could make actually digging stuff up and without spending weeks digging.
    put it in the dark and keep moist and in a few weeks you will have a nice crop of mushrooms.
    uncle frogy

  22. 22
    jaycubed

    “Having a team of hacks charge into a historical site to dig up and sell everything they find sounds like a horror story.”

    No, it sounds exactly like The Discovery Channel™ and The Learning Channel™ and The History Channel™ and . . .™

  23. 23
    robro

    Television and professional wrestling. Excellent. Perfect match up. I’m seeing kayfay everywhere. On the other hand, if they do stumble on some real artifacts, they might want to check into applicable laws, which is another reason not to worry a lot…think about it: television, wrestlers, and lawyers. yeah…

  24. 24
    Marcus Ranum

    Perfect application for the creation museum: go get ‘em, boys.

  25. 25
    Marcus Ranum

    Addendum: maybe they’ll find Joseph Smith’s engraved gold plates.

  26. 26
    indicus

    Well as someone who has significant interests in both biology and history (Yeah, I know… party animal) and lives within 10 minutes of Jamestown, allow me to chime in. For those who don’t know, Jamestown – that is, the entire former malarial peninsula/island where the 1607 fort was made – is owned by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and most certainly not a place one can simply pick out a good spot and start digging. Nor does the director of excavations, Bill Kelso, seem like the sort who would sell out his soul in this fashion. That being said, to start digging on any of the private property in the vicinity of Jamestown you would be as likely to find an alien as you would anything actually connected with the Jamestown events as people know them… that is the events translated into the Disneyfied cock-and-bull stories. While there are many lesser sites dating from the later 17th through 19th centuries which are on private property and would be of great interest to those who actually care a whit for American history or archeology (Not telling where. Please don’t ask), they are not what one would call “treasure potential”, not going to result in obscene amounts of cash, and will definitely not appeal to the fifteen second attention span of your average Spike TV viewer (“Dudeeee! Check out this bitchin’ shard of 17th Century ‘onion’ wine bottle! F-ing A!!!” **Queue pointless explosion**). Long story short, we can expect results in a similar vein to those used by the creationists. I can just picture Ric Savage holding aloft a gnarled section of tree root, just unearthed from the musky soil… “Well, we can’t prove that this ISN’T Pocahontas’ personal back scratcher. Therefore, we’re just going to say that it is! Ebay here we come!”

  27. 27
    billbicknell

    I must reluctantly admit that I’m a pretty big wrestling fan, and I had no idea who Ric Savage was. Then I looked it up… and I still have no idea who Ric Savage was. He’s got one of those Wikipedia articles that smacks of being written by the person it’s about.

    So that’s two metrics at which he fails utterly: he’s not a scientist and he’s not much of a wrestler.

  28. 28
    ericpaulsen

    I can’t wait for the premier of “Who want’s to be the American President?”. My bet is that the biggest moron on the show will win it.

  29. 29
    robro

    @Marcus #25 — Perfect goal for the entire first season: The Golden Plates—The Lost Treasures of the Treasure Hunter. And they’re gold…oooh!

    Of course, in the end Moroni took them back. But maybe he hid them in a hill somewhere like he did the first time before he died and became an angel.

    Next season, it’s on to Atlantis.

  30. 30
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    I can just imagine the redneckery filling the boardroom when this concept pitch was accepted. Not a single shred of scientific method was available that day in any of the suits, so you end up with this idiocy. Maybe the follow up reality show really will be Harrison Ford showing up at people’s doorsteps, swinging a deft right hook and bellowing, ‘THAT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!!!’ I’d definitely watch that show.

  31. 31
    Predator Handshake

    billbicknell @27: it took me until your comment to realize that this wasn’t talking about Ric Flair. I was all geared up to make a joke about how everything is going to be fine because the Nature Boy would never disrespect a historical site, and now that’s all gone! And I have to admit, if this had been about Ric Flair, I was going to watch the show. I’m really surprised there hasn’t been a reality show about him yet.

  32. 32
    Eric O

    As someone who’s had archaeological ethics thoroughly drilled into me throughout my entire undergraduate career, this made me cringe.

    So Spike TV is glamourising pot hunting, now. As if I didn’t have enough reasons to hate that network.

  33. 33
    Anthony K

    “Hi, Ric Savage? I think there’s evidence of an ancient sewage system in my backyard that needs to be repla-I mean, researched in a museum. Or something.

    So, even if there’re no artifacts of value the digging is free, right? I’m saving the cost of renting a backhoe?”

    I see some savvy septic owners making out well on this.

  34. 34
    keri

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been seeing a to-do in various news places about these guys from St Augustine, with warnings to Never Ever Ever let them dig up your backyard without getting the official St Augie archaeologist’s permission or pre-visit. Because of this, I learned that St Augustine actually has an official City Archaeologist (which makes some sense, I suppose).

    I was also amused that “cross-country” apparently means only east of the Mississippi.

  35. 35
    feralboy12

    I see some savvy septic owners making out well on this.

    And some not-so-savvy owners doing rather badly. I wonder if some might find themselves with a big hole in the backyard, a fucked-up septic system, and a share of the 35 cents worth of returnable bottles that the “experts” found.
    And millions of people who watched them agree to the whole thing.

  36. 36
    lakayko

    This is a Facebook page for anthropologists, historians, educators, students, and the general public to unite against Spike TV’s upcoming television program “American Digger”
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/People-against-Spike-TVs-American-Digger/348484368530109?sk=info

  37. 37
    microraptor

    The whole thing sounds ridiculous and destructive, but I like that “across the country” apparently now means from the East Coast to Chicago.

    Which is good.

    I want to keep at least half a country between these idiots and where I live.

  38. 38
    Russell

    We have a Christian duty to alert Ric Savage to the riches that await him in the Creation Museum’s front yard, from 6,000 year old triceratops eggs to the original manuscript of The Book Of Ham.

    With enough shovels ,metal detectors, and state of the art scrying glasses the parking lot of the Mormon Tabernacle looks highly prospective for golden tablets as well, especially if Ric can sublet the cast of jersey Shore to do the digging.

  39. 39
    Gregory Greenwood

    @ Atticus Dogsbody & Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls;

    So Mythbusters isn’t even American, but rather has antipodean roots? I didn’t realise that. I suppose I should have realised though – the show’s pro-science stance alone should have tipped me off…

    So, to rectify my post @ 17, I find that I don’t really like any of the so called ‘factual’ television from the US (and most of the fictional stuff leaves me cold as well), and yet so much of it seems to wind up over here in the UK, along with our own awful ‘reality tv’ culture of idiots making fools of themselves on national television.

  40. 40
    ohnhai

    well at least this isn’t in England. There they could do some real damage…

  41. 41
    Rumtopf

    There is an early episode of Time Time where they actually go over to dig in Jamestown with American Archaeologists. They were surprised to see the Americans sifting through every single bit of dirt on the spoil heaps because they didn’t want to miss anything. They explained that this was because the US has less history and less archaeology, so it was all the more precious.

  42. 42
    kahomono

    panem et circenses

  43. 43
    ohnhai

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/hey-spike-tv-protect-our-historical-knowledge-by/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Petition

    an e-petition to have the show pulled…. sign and pass along..

    I also posted this to the Time Team website… Hopes Tony gets involved…

    I’m getting angrier about this the more i think on it. it really is nothing but historical smash and grab looting… abject vandalism or profit…

  44. 44
    sapphire

    This is the problem when everything is viewed as a business.

  45. 45
    julietdefarge

    I’m not a Facebooker; could someone who is repost the petition link here?:
    http://www.tv.com/shows/american-digger/

  46. 46
    Rolan le Gargéac

    ericpaulsen @28

    “Who want’s to be the American President?”

    Is that quote accurate ?

  47. 47
    davidgodfrey

    Magistramala:

    Sometimes the Time Team was allowed to excavate just before a site would be destroyed forever by a new building going up, or paved over by a new road being built. Those were the times that the Time Team was quite valuable. Otherwise, I prefer to see sites done the right way.

    Time Team was also very useful for local archaeological societies who for whatever reason (usually money) hadn’t managed to get work done on a site that they were fairly sure was potentially interesting. Being able to call in the guys from Time Team meant they could get a geophysical survey, test trenches and some basic fieldwork done, which then gave them valuable information about what they had (or didn’t have) when it came to doing more detailed work, slapping preservation orders on things, etc.

  48. 48
    Eamon Knight

    SpikeTV, heh. Back when I had cable, it was good for exactly two things: Star Trek and CSI re-runs. Other than that, it’s a waste of perfectly good bandwidth.

  49. 49
    Part-Time Insomniac

    I’m suddenly very glad I don’t cable anymore due to not having the latest version of the box. I might end up throwing something at the TV over this affront to science.

  50. 50
    robro

    I asked my son (20) if he was familiar with SpikeTV last night. He said no (we don’t have cable or TV), but that he would guess from the name that it’s a TV cable channel that appeals to males 16-30 years old. You think?

  51. 51
    petrander

    Fucking barbarians. That is all I have to say.

  52. 52
    cicely

    :( :( :( :(

  53. 53
    madscientist

    *You* belong in a museum Dr. Jones!

    Oops… wrong reality.

    Stuff you dig up won’t be worth much unless it is a large cache of gold coin (contrary to TV shows, silver doesn’t fetch you much) or other gold artifacts and precious stones. If you find a rare and well-preserved fossil megafauna you might get some fantastic offers, but don’t go digging up fossils unless you know what you’re doing because you can turn something of great interest into a lump of garbage. As for 5 million year old fossils in general – meh, I see them in the sandstone in ancient alluvial systems all the time, not to mention you can buy those beautiful ammonite fossils from Morocco – those are much older and from what used to be the bottom of the sea. Come to think of it, I used to see fossilized sea creatures on all of my weekend walks in Arizona. As for historical artifacts, most items of genuine interest to historians aren’t worth much at all.

  54. 54
    alektorophile

    As a fellow archaeologist, let me join Otrame @3 in banging my head on my keyboard…

    Isn’t it enough to have to deal with looters and developers? Now we have to start fighting off idiots with tv crews as well? What ever happened to good science and history programming in the US? I mean, archaeology is a fascinating discipline and of interest to many. Do they really have to distort/dumb down/pervert everything to appeal to their public?

    It is sad, because there is nothing more a professional archaeologist likes than to describe and discuss his/her work (preferably over beers), and sharing their work with the public is something many feel it is their duty to do. But close to every single time I talk about my work to a non-archaeologist, the questions I am asked are “have you found anything valuable” or “have you found any gold”, and I just want to fucking cry. Why is it that everything has to have a $ value? And don’t get me started on the antiquities market…

    AAAAAAAaaaaarggghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! (venting anger)

  55. 55
    piranhaintheguppytank

    “IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!”

    You mean, just like the Republican platform?

  56. 56
    erikagillian

    Arrgh! Arrgh! Arrgh! Nothing is worth anything to science/archeology/history without knowing everything about where it comes from! Even hearing that in England they don’t look for everything made me cringe! We don’t just need the general “What happened when the Romans lived here,” we need to know what happened there every minute afterwards too! And if you get stuff from before, wow. When you dig an archeologically perfect dig you destroy the site, you need all the information there is!

    And if they end up on a real, say, colonial site they won’t recognize it, mostly it’d be something like clay pipes and pieces of ceramics, and every single piece of either has to be located in relation to everything else and examined and kept. You can date by frequency of types of pipes you find :) And the ceramics! Ok, I’m just going off and I haven’t had a class in this since 1990.

    One more thing though, there’s stuff nearly everywhere if you know how to see it, this country wasn’t empty when we stole it, but most people aren’t going to recognize anything but European, and probably recent European that that.

  57. 57
    David Marjanović

    But the sites that we are interested in today are being destroyed at an appalling rate, mostly do to the spread of towns and cities, and sometimes because of natural things like erosion

    …which has been greatly accelerated by deforestation and other human activities for 3000 years now, if not more.

    Maybe the follow up reality show really will be Harrison Ford showing up at people’s doorsteps, swinging a deft right hook and bellowing, ‘THAT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!!!’

    Oh, how I hope that.

    well at least this isn’t in England. There they could do some real damage…

    Oh, there’s plenty of damage to be done in the US. There have been people there for, like, 17,000 years, and… if you count palaeontology as archaeology as those morons do… *facepalm*

    This is the problem when everything is viewed as a business.

    Bingo.

    And don’t get me started on the antiquities market…

    Don’t get me started on the fossils market. So many unique specimens that are sold away to some private collector and never seen again… often they’re, shall we say, “enhanced” somewhere along the way, so if a scientist does see them, they can be misled…

  58. 58
    joshbunting

    There’s gotta be a fulcrum release lever somewhere!

  59. 59
    Squigit

    This is just…what…I don’t…*sobs*

    Sharks’ teeth? Really?!

    *More accurately, sites are being “made” all the time, but those are for archaeologist of the future.

    This is how I present archaeology to five and six-year olds: “Have you ever been walking in the park and dropped a toy?” They *love* it. I use it to explain what a site is, how it’s made, and the concept of artifacts.

    The five and six-year olds seem to have a better grip on it than does this Savage person. Whoever he is.

  60. 60
    anchor

    Pricks.

  61. 61
    microraptor

    I asked my son (20) if he was familiar with SpikeTV last night. He said no (we don’t have cable or TV), but that he would guess from the name that it’s a TV cable channel that appeals to males 16-30 years old. You think?

    Yes, that’s the basics of the channel. Some of its other “contributions” include 101 Ways to Die, a show that shows supposed ways that various people have killed themselves but has numerous long-debunked urban legends and many obviously impossible events; as well as Deadliest Warrior, a show that takes two different groups (say, Romans and Vikings), looks at a few differences between the two, and decides a winner based on which group the producers think is cooler.

  62. 62
    Rip Steakface

    Ah, professional wrestling. So hilarious, so stupid, and so lame. The problem is that wrestlers keep breaking into the mainstream – we don’t give a damn about pretty much any of them. The most likable one was probably Andre the Giant, and that’s only because he was a fairly major supporting character in *the* nerd movie, The Princess Bride.

  63. 63
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Yes, that’s the basics of the channel. Some of its other “contributions” include 101 Ways to Die, a show that shows supposed ways that various people have killed themselves but has numerous long-debunked urban legends and many obviously impossible events;

    …which is par for the course, if the Discovery Channel (Mythbusters and Daily Planet aside), “History” Channel and “Learning” Channel are to be considered.

    as well as Deadliest Warrior, a show that takes two different groups (say, Romans and Vikings), looks at a few differences between the two, and decides a winner based on which group the producers think is cooler.

    That show exists to draw itself out until the point where it can no longer ignore Pirates vs. Ninjas. Otherwise, again, par for the course.

    The reason why I’m criticising these is simply because they’re both par for the course. If they weren’t on Spike, they probably would be (albeit, in a bit less sensationalistic form — maybe) on TLC or History or maybe even Discovery.

    The one that Spike has exclusively in its demographic is far worse. I speak of a show that in one hour (or, knowing Spike, a seven-hour marathon of one-hour installments) epitomizes the vile horrible black hole that is Spike and the male privilege Spike does its damnedest to uphold. A show so disgusting and full of toxic masculinity that in safe spaces like these I dare speak its name in only a whisper:

    MANswers

  64. 64
    ohnhai

    Another e-petition to sign. This one with about 7k sign already. If we can add the weight of the Pharyngula horde that would be good…

    http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-spike-tv-from-looting-our-collective-past

  65. 65
    ohnhai

    @David… Yeh, sorry about the “at least it isn’t England” comment, is was cruel, and ignored the natural history . My bad…

  66. 66
    David Marjanović

    That show exists to draw itself out until the point where it can no longer ignore Pirates vs. Ninjas.

    ROTFL!!!

    and ignored the natural history

    Not only that – as I said, there’ve been people in the Americas for at least 17,000 years, so there are archaeological sites all over the place. They’re just not as easy to find as the fundaments of a big stone building.

  67. 67
    alektorophile

    @ David

    Yes, the fossils market is as bad as the antiquities one. Shows like the Spike one further encourage people to consider antiquities and fossils as a just another resource to be plundered.

    I had the opportunity to meet/confront a few collectors over the years, and they usually are totally unaware and/or uninterested in the damage they cause, and more often than not try to justify their collecting by saying that in reality they are “preserving” and “protecting” artifacts that otherwise would be lost to “unappreciative” (or worse) inhabitants of the countries were the artifacts were originally found. Beyond the inherently racist character of this justification (how dare those Mexicans/Italians/Arabs/etc claim ownership of their cultural and historical patrimony?), it reveals a deep ignorance about the fact that without exact, scientific, excavation-generated provenience data, any artifact is by a large extent useless and worthless. I cringe every time I walk past a display case with the label “provenience unknown” or “probably from”. I have seen entire sites in Latin America completely and utterly destroyed by looters, their potential information lost forever. And of course the same collectors will blame looting on the inability of local governments to protect their heritage, but as long as there is an idiot in New York, Paris, or Tokyo with more money than brains willing to spend 500 or 5000 dollars on a Prehispanic pot, there will be a poor campesino willing to go out at night and loot a site to to make 10 or 20 dollars.

    The trade in antiquities, any antiquities, (and fossils) should simply be made illegal.

  68. 68
    alektorophile

    And as for Glen’s @1 suggestion that treasure hunting and archaeology can coexist: no.

  69. 69
    Anri

    So, what are the odds that this will be used strictly as another ‘xenohistory’ pile of utter crap, as in:
    “Whoa, dude, this piece of metal is like, totally out of place in this supposed burial site!”
    “Yeah, dude, it totally looks like some sort of spaceship!”
    “Wow, dude, that totally proves there were aliens here!”
    “Right, dude!”
    Dude! Here come the black helicopters!”
    “But, dude, I don’t see or hear anything!”
    Dude! they’re black helicopeters, dude, you can’t see or hear ‘em! But the Shard of Mu I found from the Broken Stargate we totally investigated last week is like seriously tingling! Run dude!”
    Duuude!

    Anyone else seeing this?
    (To update to the present Spike TV audience, replacing “dude” with “bro” may be required, I dunno, I’m old.)

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