BBC Horizon Scandal

Author of the Month

Letter of Complaint from Graham Hancock to the Broadcasting Standards Commission

The Complainant.

Surname: HANCOCK First name: GRAHAM, Mr

The Programme

Programme Title: "HORIZON: Atlantis Reborn"

Date and time of broadcast: Thursday 4 November 1999, 9.40 pm.

Channel/Station: BBC2

Type of Complaint

Is the complaint about
a) Unjust or unfair treatment:
YES
b) Unwarranted infringement of privacy: NO

Unjust or Unfair Treatment

Did you appear in the programme? YES

Did you contribute in any other way? YES

Please give details of your appearance on, or involvement in, the programme

My appearance on the programme was as the main subject of its investigation: "Horizon examines the controversial theory of bestselling author Graham Hancock who is challenging mainstream archaeology." The programme-makers spent two full days interviewing me on camera at my home in Devon and segments from these interviews, with my image on screen full-frame, were used repeatedly in the programme interlaced with reactions to my work from academic experts. My other involvement was effectively as an unpaid consultant to the programme since the producers phoned me many times asking for contacts and advice on particular points, or for clarification of aspects of my work.

The treatment that I am complaining about is the unjust and unfair presentation of my person, my methods and my work in this programme in order to create the impression that I am an intellectual fraudster, that I have put forward half-baked theories and ideas in bad faith, and that I am incompetent to defend my own arguments. Lest there be in any doubt about  the way that others have perceived these matters I draw the Commission's attention to the following:

(1) The Guardian newspaper's preview of the programme (4 November 1999) states that "Horizon effectively demolishes most of Hancock's popular assertions that ancient monuments like the Giza pyramids mirror constellations. This leaves Hancock groping irritably for justifications to excuse glaring inaccuracies in his work. The whole exercise is, in the end, rather embarrassing as he fails to address flaws in his argument pinpointed by astronomers." (2) A letter writer to the Radio Times (4-10 December 1999) comments: "Horizon on Atlantis was another one of those broadcasting events that helped reassure us our licence fee is being spent sensibly. We were treated to a calm and methodical dismantling until Mr Hancock was reduced to mumbling lame excuses" (3) A member of the public contributing a review of my book "Fingerprints of the Gods" to Amazon.co.uk., warns: "I read this book, was convinced by the arguments of the maps, and the layout of the pyramids. However after watching Horizon a few weeks ago which looked more closely at the layout of the Pyramids, and Hancock's admission that " I'm not so convinced about Antarctica anymore" I'm back to being a sceptic. The biggest problem with the whole thing is that the stars in Orion's belt which are key to the book's section on the pyramids' layout are actually laid out upside down to the way he says in the book. Perhaps Hancock hoped we wouldn't notice. Book is well written however the basic science is just wrong. Don't bother buying it."

Confronted by such obvious damage to my reputation I think I do have an extremely direct interest in the treatment I am complaining about - namely Horizon's unjust and unfair presentation of my person, my methods and my work.

Summary of the Unfairness Complaint.

Please complete this section briefly, summarising ALL the main points of your complaint under numbered headings and explaining how the programme was unjust or unfair. The Commission may not consider any elements of the fairness complaint that are not included within this section and if you do not complete this section as requested, your complaint may be returned to you.

UNFAIRNESS IN THE TREATMENT OF MY POSITION ON ROBERT BAUVAL'S  "ORION CORRELATION THEORY" LINKING THE PATTERN OF THE THREE BELT STARS OF THE CONSTELLATION OF ORION TO THE PATTERN OF THE THREE GREAT PYRAMIDS OF GIZA.

The first example of unfairness in the programme occurred around its tendentious and misleading treatment of 'the Orion correlation' - Robert Bauval's discovery that the pattern of the three belt stars of the constellation of Orion appears to be mimicked on the ground by the pattern of the three great pyramids at Giza. Here I must draw the Commission's attention to the fact that Mr Bauval has separately submitted his own unfairness complaint outlining in detail the misrepresentation by the programme of his work and ideas. Mr Bauval's complaint should, therefore, be regarded as the primary source of information on the unfairness of the programme's treatment of the Orion correlation theory and I will not seek to duplicate the details of that complaint unnecessarily here - although the substance that the Commission will find within it is of great relevance to my own complaint.

The reason that the programme's treatment of the Orion correlation is unfair to me as well as to Mr Bauval is that in my books "Fingerprints of the Gods", "Keeper of Genesis" (co-authored with Robert Bauval) and "Heaven's Mirror", I place considerable weight on the significance of Bauval's discovery. The programme's stated objective was to undermine the significance of the discovery "since it has a crucial role in the evolution of Hancock's theories of a lost civilisation".  Such a debunking exercise is, in itself, is a legitimate objective for Horizon - so long, of course, as the debunking is justified and fair. What was not legitimate were the methods used. These were unfair to me and misrepresented the arguments that I put forward in my books.

The programme's chief 'witness for the prosecution' in the matter of the Orion correlation, given a great deal of time to make his case, was the Los Angeles astronomer Ed Krupp -- who argues that the pyramids are 'upside down' in relation to the stars in the sky. Both Robert Bauval and I in our separate interviews with Horizon provided refutations (and in Bauval's case an extremely detailed refutation) of Krupp's position on this matter BUT HORIZON OPTED NOT TO INCLUDE ANY OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THESE REFUTATIONS WHEN THEY BROADCAST THE SHOW. Accordingly the viewer is left only with Krupp's argument, bolstered of course by his weighty authority as a leading astronomer, without being given the right to hear our counter argument. Worse still the viewer is not even informed that we in fact do have a counter-argument! The way the programme slants the whole thing builds up a very strong - but entirely false -- impression that we accept, or at any rate do not dispute, Krupp's 'upside-down' reasoning. The implication is that, yes, the pyramids are 'upside down' in relation to the stars but that we regard this merely as 'nit-picking' and not as a fatal argument against the Orion correlation theory. Using snippets from my interview I am allowed to state that a grand symbolic gesture was what was intended here by the ancient Egyptians and the impression is created that I simply brush aside the worrying fact that this grand symbol is 'upside down'. At no point am I allowed to make the point that I DO NOT ACCEPT THAT THE SYMBOL IS UPSIDE DOWN, OR TO DEMONSTRATE TO THE VIEWER THAT IT IS NOT IN FACT UPSIDE DOWN.

Had the programme set out to allow me a fair rebuttal of Krupp's argument it would not have restricted my on-screen comment to just the snippet from our interviews where I state that it is 'nit-picking'

(which of course sounds ridiculous when the programme has just presented it as a 'fact' that the pyramid-layout is upside down in relation to the stars) but rather the detailed explanation that both Bauval and I offered that to a viewer looking south (the only way to look at Orion from the northern hemisphere of planet earth) the visual pattern of Orion's Belt in the sky is -- repeat IS -- the same as the pattern of the pyramids on the ground and is NOT 'upside down'. This is a fact verifiable by observation even today -- and computer simulations show that the correlation would have been much more obvious thousands of years ago when Orion rose and set closer to the southern horizon.

A proper examination of Krupp's position, which it would only have been fair for the programme-makers to include, reveals that what this astronomer wants to do to see a correlation is look down on earth and on the pyramids from a position outside and to the south of the celestial sphere and the constellation of Orion -- a position that no human being could possibly find himself in since the stars of Orion's Belt are millions of light years away! From that angle of view, which I repeat no human can ever see -- the pattern of the pyramids is indeed 'upside down in relation to the stars'.  But from the angle of view of a human being on earth at Giza the only way to produce a recognisable image on the ground  of the three stars of the belt is exactly the way it was done with the pyramids at Giza.Of course, Krupp has a right to express his own opinions but it was thoroughly unfair of the programme to act as though Bauval and I are unable to offer a coherent rebuttal to these opinions. (I even informed the production team off camera that I had projected a photograph of Orion's Belt onto a screen at a conference and then asked Krupp's wife -- a gifted artist --to come up on stage and draw it. She drew the belt in exactly the way that the pyramids appear on the ground. Indeed there was no other way she could draw it).

Horizon did interview Robert Bauval, the originator of the Orion correlation theory, and this gave the programe-makers an excellent opportunity to introduce some fairness and balance into their show. Unfortunately, however, as noted above, Bauval's detailed on-camera responses to Krupp's upside down argument were simply not aired! The same goes for his detailed rebuttal of the arguments of another astronomer, Anthony Fairall, concerning the respective angles of the pyramids and the stars. Indeed in the matter of Fairall a statement from me, taken entirely out of context, was broadcast while Bauval's own much more detailed rebuttal was deliberately omitted. Sleight of hand was used by the programme-makers to convey the impression that my statement was unreasonable and even stupid. Here are the relevant passages from the script:

NARRATOR: "In June 1999 astronomer Anthony Fairall re-examined the precise 45 degree angle that seemed to link the pyramids with the belt stars. Fairall found that the match was not as precise as originally claimed. The angle of the pyramids is 38 degrees, and that of the belt stars is 50 degrees. Asked about this discrepancy Hancock and Bauval argued that it's the symbolism, not the precise calculations that matter."

GRAHAM HANCOCK: "No they're not absolutely correct and I don't care"

Yet what the programme failed to inform its viewers of is the fact that I do not under any circumstances accept that the angles of the pyramids and of the belt stars vary by such a huge amount as 12 degrees (the difference between 38 degrees and 50 degrees). I put the angle of the pyramids at 45 degrees -- and can substantiate this -- and the angle of the stars at around 43 degrees at worst (which I can again substantiate), giving a variance of two degrees or less. My statement that the match is "not absolutely correct and I don't care" was made in context of a variation of one or two degrees, not, repeat not, of 12 degrees whereas the editing of the programme conveys the strong impression that I accept a 12 degree variation and yet, unreasonably, dismiss it as unimportant. This unfairness is then compounded by the programme's failure to include Bauval's detailed technical rebuttal of Fairall's figures. For these technical details I refer the Commission to the relevant passages in Mr Bauval's unfairness complaint.

UNFAIRNESS IN THE TREATMENT OF MY POSITION ON THE ASTRONOMY OF THE ANGKOR MONUMENTS IN CAMBODIA.

Another misrepresentation leading to unfair treatment of my work occurs when the scholar Eleanor Mannikka is brought on. She questions the apparent similarity that I have drawn attention to between the pattern of the principal stars in the constellation of Draco and the pattern of the principal temples at Angkor in Cambodia. The resemblance isn't very good, she complains, and must be a coincidence. She then goes on to argue that Draco, the 'dragon' constellation, was unknown in Cambodia, that there was no dragon constellation, and that - apparently the killer blow to my theory --  there is no dragon symbolism whatsoever at Angkor.

I was not given the opportunity to respond to these points in the questions that the programme-makers put to me; however once again I am on record in my written work. In Heaven's Mirror I make it abundantly clear that the Greek name 'Draco' means 'dragon'  but that this constellation: "has also been understood, throughout history and in almost all cultures, to be some form of cosmic snake." I make an extensive case (in Chapter 8, pages 134-144) that rearing Naga serpents, which are by far the most prevalent sculptural motif at all the temples of Angkor, are very likely to be figures of Draco - the great celestial Naga. I leave no room for doubt about my view that Draco was perceived as a serpent at Angkor and I even remark that "the constellation of Draco does look very much like a rearing cobra with its hood extended." It seems to me, therefore - since Horizon were well aware of my arguments on this point - that it was unfair of them to allow Eleanor Mannikka to pour scorn on the suggestion of a Draco-Angkor correlation because 'there are no dragons at Angkor" while failing to inform viewers that I do not at any point claim that Draco was seen as a dragon at Angkor!

UNFAIRNESS IN THE TREATMENT OF MY POSITION ON THE ASTRONOMY OF THE GREAT SPHINX

In several of my books (Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis - with Robert Bauval - and most recently Heaven's Mirror) I have presented the argument that the Great Sphinx of Giza, which is oriented due east, may have been designed as a terrestrial image or symbol of the constellation of Leo as it would have appeared at dawn on the spring equinox in 10,500 BC rising in direct line with the Sphinx's gaze.  Horizon admits that "the constellation of Leo rose above the horizon directly east of the Sphinx in 10,500 BC" but dismisses my work on the Sphinx and Leo with the throwaway remark: "there is no evidence this constellation was recognised by the ancient Egyptians." This unfairly ignores the detailed case that Robert Bauval and I made in our book Keeper of Genesis that the ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, the oldest surviving scriptures of mankind, do recognise the constellation of  Leo and refer to it by the name of the god Horakhti - a name that was also frequently applied to the Sphinx (UK paperback edition, pages 177-189). And the point at issue here is NOT whether or not our argument in this case is correct or incorrect but rather, simply, that we have made an argument on the matter, which we put forward in good faith, and which should in all fairness have at least been mentioned in Horizon's treatment of my position on the astronomy of the Sphinx.

This act of unfairness was further compounded by an attempt on the part of the programme-makers to mock the logic whereby Robert Bauval and I arrive at suggested sky-ground correlations. In a stage-managed spoof Horizon claimed to have "made a discovery which further questions his [Hancock's] basic theory. It links a group of unique monuments with a pattern of stars. Here are the monuments on the ground looking north [graphic]. The pattern matches one of the great constellations: Leo the Lion. These are the monuments: Grand Central Station, the New York Public Library, Maceys, Madison Square Gardens, the Central Post Office, a Theatre, a University, Times Square, the Rockefeller Centre and a police station. The monuments are, of course, in Manhattan, The Leo master plan doesn't account for every Manhattan landmark, but using Hancock's criteria it doesn't have to. As long as you have enough points and you don't need to make every point fit, you can find virtually any pattern you want."

This seriously misrepresents the work that Robert Bauval and I have attempted to do in this field -- which in none of the above cases rests on simple pattern-correlation alone. Both at Giza and at Angkor we have shown a rich context to the correlations including religious texts that specifically advocate the construction of temples on the ground that are 'copies' of particular groups of stars, and local deities specifically identified with the relevant constellations (e.g. Orion/Osiris, Leo/Horakhti, Naga/Draco). Since Horizon's spurious "Leo" correlation is not buttressed by any such context in New York the comparison that the programme attempts to make is invalid. Once again, however, viewers were simply not informed of the contextual background to our sky-ground correlations and were left with the impression that the correlations were nothing more than a game of 'join-the-dots'.

Had I been asked to comment on Horizon's Leo/New York exercise I would have asked: (1) Is there a god in New York identified with the constellation of Leo? (2) Is there a religious system in New York which stipulates or encourages the construction of monuments on the ground according to the pattern of constellations in the sky? (3) Are the buildings in Horizon's  New York/Leo "correlation" individually aligned with high precision to the cardinal directions? (because if they are then this would tell us they were built by people who knew their astronomy); (4) Are all of these buildings religious buildings?

The answer to these questions, in the case of New York, is 'no'. No, there is not a god identified with the constellation of Leo. No, there is no sky-ground religious system. No, the individual buildings in the 'correlation' are not aligned to the cardinal directions. No, none of them are religious buildings. The answer to these same questions in the case of Angkor and Giza is 'yes'. Yes there were gods identified with the constellations. Yes there was a sky-ground religious system. Yes the individual components of each correlation are precisely aligned to the cardinal directions. Yes all the monuments concerned were religious buildings.

How can my work be said to have been fairly represented by the BBC when it did not allow me to present such vital parts of my argument?

UNFAIRNESS IN THE TREATMENT OF MY POSITION ON THE EROSION AND ANTIQUITY OF THE GREAT SPHINX.

One of the areas of research that I investigate and report at great length in my books concerns the possibility that the Great Sphinx of Giza, which cannot be dated by radiocarbon because it is carved out of solid rock, may be thousands of years older than Egyptologists believe. I cite in particular the work of Robert Schoch, Professor of Geology at Boston University, who is the leading academic proponent of this case. Schoch's argument, in brief, is that the Sphinx bears unmistakable traces of having been eroded over long periods by heavy rainfall; since such rains last fell in Egypt thousands of years before the Pharaohs, Professor Schoch argues that the Sphinx must predate the civilisation of the Pharaohs.

Unfairly misrepresenting the case I have made, the programme chose not to broadcast Schoch's professional testimony as a geologist on the erosion and antiquity of the Sphinx. Instead it chose to state in narration: "Hancock claims there is geological evidence [for an older Sphinx]. Egypt has had a dry climate since the time that the pyramids were built but the Sphinx and its enclosure are deeply eroded. It has been argued by Hancock and others that the erosion was caused by heavy rainfall and that this means the Sphinx must have been carved many thousands of years earlier than we thought, when the climate was wetter. But the erosion argument has not stood up to the scrutiny of geologists."

How can it be fair to make such a statement without admitting that the erosion argument which I report in my books was originally formulated and put forward by a leading geologist - Professor Schoch - who to this day continues staunchly to maintain his position that the Sphinx is thousands of years older than Egyptologists believe? If there was evidence that Horizon mistrusted Schoch's credentials as a geologist qualified to comment on such matters then it might be easier to understand the programme's complete omission of his testimony on the Sphinx. Yet this cannot be so, for a few minutes after dealing with the geology of the Sphinx, without recourse to Schoch, the programme brings him forth as an expert witness on another geological issue - one on which he is in fact far less qualified to comment -- the question of whether the so called 'underwater monument' off the Japanese island of Yonaguni is a natural or artificial (i.e. man-made) structure.

UNFAIRNESS IN THE TREATMENT OF MY POSITION ON THE YONAGUNI UNDERWATER MONUMENT.

I have argued, and continue to argue, that the underwater structure near the island of Yonaguni, to which I have personally made in excess of 100 dives, is a structure that is partially natural and that was in part carved out of natural bedrock by the hand of man. Horizon correctly reported (as I do also in my book Heaven's Mirror) that Professor Schoch, who I invited to study the structure, is not persuaded that it is man-made (although his broadcast statement in the programme,  "I'm convinced it's a natural structure", is at odds with his written statements in his 1999 book "Voices of the Rocks" that "the ancient inhabitants of the island may have partially reshaped or enhanced a natural structure to give it the form they wished" -- Harmony Books, New York, 1999, page 111). Quite apart from the issues raised by the editorial decision to use Schoch only as a 'witness for the prosecution' (on Yonaguni) but to ignore his testimony as a 'witness for the defence' (on the Sphinx), I believe it was unfair of Horizon to write off my position on Yonaguni in this way. None of the detailed arguments that I have put forward for the artificiality of the Yonaguni structure were presented to the viewer and, more importantly, the viewer was not told that there are Japanese academic experts -- also geologists and every bit as well-qualified as Schoch - who have studied the structure for many years and are convinced that it was extensively worked on by human beings before it was covered by the sea. The leading pro-artificiality expert is Professor Masaaki Kimura, a marine geologist at the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa. Not only was he not allowed to testify in favour of my position but the programme did not even inform viewers of his existence or of the results of his team's extensive underwater research at the monument.

UNFAIRNESS IN THE TREATMENT OF MY POSITION ON ATLANTIS, ANTARCTICA AND EARTH-CRUST DISPLACEMENT.

  One of the many misrepresentations of my work to appear in the programme and contributing to the overall unfairness of the programme as a whole was the perpetration of the error that I was somehow the originator or creator of the theory that identifies Antarctica with the lost continent of Atlantis. To quote from the broadcast :  "To find the home of the lost civilisation would be the find of the century, the real Atlantis. Hancock has made an astonishing suggestion about where it could be: Antarctica. In his best-selling book Fingerprints of the Gods Hancock claims Antarctica was once in a warmer region and home to the lost civilisation. He suggests that a massive shift in the earth's crust 12,000 years ago displaced Antarctica to the South Pole, where it became ice-bound."

I AM NOT THE ORIGINATOR OR CREATOR OF THIS THEORY. The full credit for it, as I explained in Chapters 50 and 51 of  Fingerprints of the Gods, belongs to the Canadian authors Rand and Rose Flem-Ath who set it out in their book When The Sky Fell (1995) which I was privileged to read in manuscript form in 1993. I believed then, and believe still, that their theory is a ground-breaking one and that it is immensely important to any proper consideration of the possibility that there may have been a lost civilisation. My role vis-à-vis this original and well-thought-out theory was simply that of a reporter and synthesizer, just as I also reported and synthesized the work and theories of many other writers and researchers in Fingerprints of the Gods.

The programme then went on, through the use of extremely selective editing, to make it appear as though I have now withdrawn all support from the Atlantis/Antarctica theory. This is not correct. As I explained at length to the 'Horizon' team in remarks that they chose not to broadcast, the sudden end of the last Ice Age is one of the great enigmas of earth history. I do not believe that this mystery can be explained by recourse to relatively slow and gentle climatic changes. I do very strongly believe that some cataclysmic agency must have been at work and I continue to believe that the mechanism advocated by the Flem-Aths, and by their predecessor and mentor Dr Charles Hapgood, namely a massive one-piece displacement of the earth's crust, is a very plausible explanation of the worldwide cataclysm that did indeed occur.  Accordingly I defended the mechanism of earth-crust displacement  forcefully against hostile questions from the 'Horizon' interviewer - who, amongst other things, accused me of being a 'pseudo-scientist' for so doing -- but none of  this appeared in the final edited film that was broadcast by the BBC. In the same interview I went on to make further remarks concerning asteroidal and cometary collisions with the earth -- which, in my view are also strong contenders for the mysterious cataclysmic agency that ended the Ice Age. All this was cut out of the film as well. In conclusion on this line of questioning I reiterated that the end of the Ice Age was a cataclysm of almost unparalleled ferocity and magnitude and pointed out that the fact that this cataclysm did occur can be accepted from the overwhelming body of evidence that testifies to it - and, furthermore, is accepted by most scientists - even if there is not yet any agreement on the precise mechanism that caused it. The key fact of this mysterious cataclysm, I added, was a worldwide rise in sea levels of approximately 100 metres (more than 300 feet) which changed the face of the earth completely -- inundating vast land-masses that might previously have been inhabited along almost all the continental shelves. All this, too, was edited out of the film and instead the producers homed in on a tiny snippet from my comments where I stated: 'What I've come to realise, as my research has gone on, in a sense is that I don't need Antarctica and therefore I don't need to propose a radical revolution of geological ideas in order to explain a lost civilisation.'

Taken out of context as it was, this remark certainly does sound like a total withdrawal of my support from Atlantis-Antarctica and from earth-crust displacement. It was none of that, however, but merely the point in the interview, following a lengthy defence of cataclysmic theories, where I stated that my own research had now moved on in a different direction - based on the undisputed fact of global sea-level rise at the end of the Ice Age - involving scuba-diving on continental shelves all around the world and looking for the underwater ruins of a globally-distributed lost civilisation.

'Horizon's' misrepresentation of my role in the formulation of the Atlantis/Antarctica theory, and of my views on earth-crust displacement and other cataclysmic theories, cannot be explained away as a simple misunderstanding of my position as expressed in my interviews and discussions with the production team. In addition to the interview material at their disposal, my views on Altantis/Antarctica are very clearly set out in the body of my written work -- which Horizon had a responsibility to represent fairly. Most recently, for example, I comment on the issue in Chapter 12 of Heaven's Mirror (1998)  - particularly on pages 207-212.  On page 210 I point out that: 'The earth-crust displacement theory advocated by Hapgood, the Flem-Aths and others has not been well received by orthodox planetary scientists. Geologists in particular have poured scorn on the theory, linked it to the lunatic fringe, and failed to give it any serious peer-review. The impression has been sucessfully conveyed that it is simply an 'impossible' process, advocated by lunatics and therefore not worthy of consideration by genuine scientists. Yet behind the scenes the evidence has been slowly mounting up that displacements of the earth's crust do occur from time to time and that there is no physical or geological reason why such a displacement should not have occurred around 12,000 years ago - precisely as the Flem-Aths allege.'

So the producers were unjustified and unfair not only in portraying me as the originator of the Atlantis-Antarctica and earth-crust displacement theories, but also in portraying me as a man who has now entirely abandoned these theories.

UNFAIRNESS IN THE TREATMENT OF MY POSITION ON CARBON-DATING

A key element of the programme's 'demolition' of my ideas concerns the manner in which it presented my position on carbon-dating. I maintain that the treatment I received here was extremely unfair because the production team simply omitted any statements that I made which, by inclusion, would have demonstrated that I have a well worked out view on this subject. Thus in a  snippet taken out of context from their lengthy interviews with me I appear, near the end of the episode, to make a blank statement - it comes across almost as an admission of guilt - to the effect that in my book "Heaven's Mirror" I did not write at all about the subject of carbon-dating at the Andean megalithic city of Tiwanaku, parts of which I claim may date back to 10,500 BC. The way my statement is set up it is as though I have been caught out in a deception. The narrator informs viewers that "Carbon dating is a method that has provided increasingly reliable dates for archaeological sites all over the world, including Tiwanaku The very earliest signs of human habitation are just 3500 years old. The great stone monuments were begun only 2,000 years ago, nowhere near 10,500 BC. So how does Graham Hancock deal with this information in his recent book?

I then appear, stating: "I'm not required to be encyclopaedic. In Heaven's Mirror there is no representation whatsoever of recent carbon dates for Tiwanaku."

Immediately afterwards an academic expert states: "When you have the radiocarbon dating for places like Tiwanaku it shows how old the site is. When you insist on ignoring that, not even rejecting it, just ignoring it, it shows that what you are doing is not science"

So the presentation of my position on the important issue of carbon-dating that has been offered here is that I ignore it - a position that I seem to be confirming when I state: "In Heaven's Mirror there is no representation whatsoever of recent carbon dates for Tiwanaku." I regard this as unfair, and also as unjust because in our interviews I told the Horizon team extremely clearly WHY I do not regard radio-carbon as a definitive dating tool for meglithic sites and why I have not spent a great deal of time writing about its implications. This is because it cannot date the stones themselves but only organic materials found in association with those stones. I repeat: YOU CAN ONLY DATE ORGANIC MATERIALS ---- BONE, CHARCOAL, WOOD, ETC - WITH RADIOCARBON TECHNOLOGY; YOU CANNOT DATE ROCK-HEWN STRUCTURES SUCH AS THE GREAT SPHINX OF GIZA OR THE GIGANTIC MEGALITHS OF THE PUMA PUNKU IN TIWANAKU.

I believe it is extremely unfair - not only to my own work but also to the viewer who has the right to be properly informed of all the facts -- that across the entire span of two episodes (the programme was the second episode of a two-part series), Horizon consistently treated carbon-dating as the final arbiter in establishing the antiquity of megalithic sites - i.e. of sites made of big stones. Never once did the programme-makers let on to their viewers that radio-carbon cannot date stone. For a production that repeatedly took a high moral tone about me being selective with my facts I think this is an extraordinary example of being selective with the facts. But to go further than that and use one segment of my interview where I state I don't write about carbon-dating at Tiwanaku in Heaven's Mirror but then to fail to use the other - where I explain why - is to perpetrate an injustice.

Nor is it as if there is any doubt about my position on the limitations of radio-carbon dating of megalithic sites -- so I can only conclude that the Horizon team must have wanted deliberately to misrepresent it. Not only from our interviews but from the body of my printed work the producers know perfectly well that I have concentrated on trying to bring forward an alternative approach to measuring the antiquity of megalithic sites precisely because I am not satisfied that radio-carbon dates from associated organic debris tell us the whole story. As far back as 1995 I explained in Fingerprints of the Gods (UK paperback edition, pages 54-55) that archaeologists found it difficult: "to provide accurate dates for engineering works like roads and dry stone walls which contained no organic

compounds. Radiocarbon was redundant in such circumstances; thermoluminescence, too, was useless. And while promising new tests such as Chlorine-36 rock-exposure dating were now being developed their implementation was still some way off.  Pending further advances in the latter field, therefore, 'expert' chronology was still largely the result of guesswork and subjective assumptions." 

I made the same point again, in a different context on pages 134-135 of "Fingerprints of the Gods" and on page 92 of Heaven's Mirror (in relation to the Great Sphinx of Giza) -- so the producers were unjustified and unfair in portraying me as a man who simply (and perhaps even dishonestly) 'ignores' carbon-dating. On the contrary I have a clear view on the subject and good reasons to seek out alternative dating methods for megalithic sites like Tiwanaku. It was unfair of the programme to withhold this information from the viewer.

UNFAIRNESS IN THE TREATMENT OF MY PERSON

I am a successful author. My books, which have sold an estimated 5 million copies around the world, explore the possibility that a high civilistion, not yet identified or recognised by historians, may have existed in remote prehistory - a lost civilisation in other words. I make no secret of the fact that I see my role primarily as an ADVOCATE for this hypothetical and as yet unproven civilisation. What I confront in this advocacy is an overwhelming belief on the part of established academics that there was no such lost civilisation - overwhelming not because individual historians or archaeologists  ever outsell me as a writer (the programme rightly points out that my books have been far more popular than theirs) but  because the findings and conclusions of these scholars are the basis of all teaching about the past. From kindergarten to university, children and students are rarely offered an alternative view of history. Against this backdrop of a largely unquestioned doctrine of the past taught to the entire population of the industrialised world, a population numbered in billions, my 5 million readers represent only a tiny fraction. Nevertheless, 5 million people is a significant number in itself and I am happy that my ideas have interested so many. However there is no doubt that the only reason my books have succeeded to this extent over the ten years that I have been publishing in the field is because I have built up a substantial reputation for HONESTY, RELIABILITY , INTEGRITY and the ability to express INTELLIGENT, WELL-SUPPORTED ARGUMENTS.

It was this reputation that the programme sought to destroy, achieving its objective not through an an honest, fair and courageous attack on me and my work but by a dishonest presentation that slants the editing, the evidence and the witnesses against me and that never allows me the opportunity even to begin to mount a proper defence of myself. The unfair treatment of the seven categories of evidence listed above ensures that I am portrayed in the film as a thoroughly reprehensible and even fraudulent individual who seems incapable of intelligently supporting his own arguments - which are presented as having been put forward in bad faith --and who, as other commentators quoted above have observed, is "reduced to mumbling lame excuses" and "fails to address flaws in his argument pinpointed by astronomers." Had the programme allowed me time on air to defend my arguments properly, either by using my on-camera rebuttals of my critics (which were all deleted from the programme in the editing) or by fairly and accurately summarising my arguments in the body of my published work, then such a portrayal of my person would not have been possible.

Moreover there is another more subtle element of unfairness in the way that the programme depicts me. Again by the use of ruthlessly selective editing, the impression is conveyed that I am dogmatic and intolerant - a 'believer' who never questions his own theories. This impression is achieved by repeatedly taking my remarks out of context, by allowing excess and unrepresentative airtime to the relatively few occasions where I did show irritation during the two days of intensive, often repetitive questioning that Horizon subjected me to, and by editing out all the very many self-deprecating and self-critical remarks that I made so often during these interviews. For example, after summarising my views on camera concerning particular aspects of the theories presented in my books I several times stated "but, hey, I might be completely wrong" and cautioned that I was simply putting forward ideas for consideration and did not claim to posses all "the facts". I also emphasised again and again during my interviews with Horizon that I am "just an author", that I am not - and do not claim to be - "any kind of scientist" and that my primary objective (and responsibility) in my books is to entertain and stimulate my readers and to put the case for an alternative view of history as forcefully as possible (since the case for the orthodox view of history is already put forcefully at all levels of education, in textbooks, in encyclopaedias, and in the mass media).

I therefore feel that it was extremely unfair of the programme to build up and transmit a very one-sided portrayal of my personality when large amounts of interview material were recorded with me which, if used representatively, would have conveyed an entirely different impression.

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