I watched the premier episode of H2's "America Unearthed," starring Scott Wolter, last weekend. I had been involved in the early planning for this series and was hopeful it would help open the public's eyes to the possibility of exploration of America before Columbus.
I was, therefore, disappointed in this review, which criticizes the show, its research,the pacing and Wolter personally:
At first glance, it is the same "head in the sand" response we often see from the archeological community. But as I read through the review more carefully, I realized that many of the criticisms of the show are valid. The review (albeit with an unnecessarily snarly tone) accurately points out that the show falls far short of its claim to "rewrite the history books" by proving that the remnants of the ancient Mayan culture migrated to Georgia. At best, the show proved some kind of trade (direct or indirect) between Mayans in the Yucatan and Native Americans in the American southeast. Did anyone ever doubt this? And even this conclusion is tenuous, as much of the evidence used to support it is not shown to the audience (we fly over the Georgia stone structures but never actually examine them; we are told of a deformed Creek skull but are never shown it; we are shown a drawing of a Feathered Dancer icon but never see the actual artifact itself; we are told a sample of Mayan blue dye is tested but don't witness the sample actually being taken; etc.) If the producers didn't have access to the actual artifacts and sites, why not move on to another, more compelling episode?
I am fairly confident that future episodes will be more compelling, but this initial episode was disappointing.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
I spent a lot of time over the past 18 months traveling around the country with geologist Scott Wolter scouting out sites and looking at artifacts for a new TV series entitled "America Unearthed." The show premiers Friday at 10:00 on H2 (Hi...story 2) and is hosted by Scott. It explores the hidden history of America. As long as they stay away from the speculative, silly stuff (Cross of Lorraine on an Oreo cookie?) it should be a good show. Here's a link to some trailers: