So I was happily reading on the BBC site about the latest finds from King Tutenkhamun’s tomb (closet archaelogy fan) – with new X-ray technology they are going over artifacts and discovering all sorts of new details about ancient people and their way of life – when I got to this line:
The researchers say the presence of iron – along with levels of nickel and cobalt – “strongly suggests an extraterrestrial origin”.
I’m sorry – what?
For starters, I was a little peeved that the story was filed in the Middle East section and not Africa, but this isn’t really on the BBC. The authors of the report into the artifact actually wrote that, in all seriousness.
We would sooner believe that aliens – ALIENS – which we have no proof for yet (though I’m not ruling it out, the universe is massive) made this fancy knife from meteor rock before we believe that AFRICANS (just erase all those Liz Taylor-as-Cleopatra-style movies from your mind) could possibly have made it?
Couldn’t they have found the rock and made it? Given all that we don’t know about the Ancient World, could it not be that people did it? Why is that so unbelievable?
A lot of the conventional history on Egypt (that Egyptians were somehow European, set apart from the rest of Africa) has been debunked in the excellent history book by Malian academic Cheikh Anta Diop – The African Origin of Civilisation, which changed my whole perspective as an 18-year old history student.
Amid all the talk for the decolonisation of economics and other subjects in academia, it’s clear that archaeology could do with a shake-up too and is still mired in a particular context.
At the time that the Easter Island statues and pyramids were discovered, people of colour were barely considered human. Early explorers couldn’t believe that they could do it. Since then we’ve had all sorts of finds that show that explorers who were not European went all around the world. That people who were not European made stuff.
Stuff that wasn’t “discovered” and countries that didn’t “exist” until Europeans found them.
And they wrote the history books.
They still do.