stealing the ancients’ glory
Adherents to the ancient astronaut theory scout the world looking for the hands of an alien intelligence in pyramids, Easter Island heads and Neolithic stone monuments. In their minds, our ancestors were far too primitive to build them. They simply couldn’t have possessed the necessary resources and the engineering skills. Or could they?
Actually, yes they could. One of the things that ancient astronaut theorists tend to forget about our ancestors is that they were just as intelligent as we are. Sure they were more superstitious and didn’t know as much about the natural world as we do today, but they were far from stupid. By the time some of our most iconic monuments were built, the people who put them together had centuries of experiments from which to learn. Ancient people were methodical, careful and knew how to plan and organize things after thousands of years of building villages which grew into city states and eventually, into empires. There’s no difference between the mental capacity of someone from ancient Sumer and someone from modern times.
The other major flaw in the idea that our iconic monuments would take too much time to make without modern tools and required too much manpower, is that modern attitudes and ideas of what’s practical or not are being applied to a totally different world. The ancients had a massive pool of cheap, expendable labor that we don’t have today for many reasons. Slaves. In fact, the abundance of slaves in the ancient world doomed an ancient steam engine to being little more than a curious novelty. Ancient rulers could summon tens of thousands of laborers to work on projects we’d consider too expensive and too impractical today. Even when the workforce was hired (as was the case with the pyramids), it was so cheap to hire a thousand people to operate giant manual cranes and do all sorts of detailed and painstaking work, few grand projects were out of reach to the ancients.
It’s sad that the knowledge and the sophistication of the classical world vanished and many of their texts with all kinds of important information were recklessly burned by religious zealots who wanted to stomp out competing faiths. When ancient astronaut theorists further come to take away from the advancement and sophistication of our ancestors, it’s not only historically unfounded and arrogant, it’s downright offensive.