Ancient Egyptian Curses and Bog Bodies: The Role of Pseudoarchaeology in Tumblr's Subculture

Author(s): Emma Verstraete

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Interactions with Pseudoarchaeology: Approaches to the Use of Social Media and the Internet for Correcting Misconceptions of Archaeology in Virtual Spaces" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Current digital tools and social media provide a near constant stream of data. While the trustworthiness of this data may be suspect, communication mediums such as internet memes and Tumblr blog posts saturate common search results. Social media networks such as Tumblr rely on self-policing of content, allowing reductionist and incorrect ideas about archaeology and history to travel around the globe in seconds. Recent examples of pseudo-archaeology memes include questions like "should you lick the science?" (in the case of archaeology, you shouldn’t since it ‘might be human bone’). Social media can spread the news of archaeological discoveries more quickly than ever before, but the results are often reduced to witty quotes and references to the Ancient Aliens TV series. Other posts jokingly question the difference between archaeology and grave robbing, reaching back to harmful stereotypes of a profession that currently seeks to apply science and ethics to its research. This paper will present a discussion on the mechanics of Tumblr’s unique ecosystem and subculture while presenting a variety of pseudo-archaeology and ancient history memes. Efforts to promote outreach and stop the spread of misinformation in the Tumblr network and suggestions to further promote archaeology will also be discussed.

Cite this Record

Ancient Egyptian Curses and Bog Bodies: The Role of Pseudoarchaeology in Tumblr's Subculture. Emma Verstraete. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452501)

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24761