I have had an interest in the possibility that aliens visited in ancient times since I came across the idea at school in the early 1960s. So I enjoyed this book, but if you have any background in the subject much of it is unconvincing and I would advise readers to try and check out original sources and not just stuff written by believers.
The biggest problem with the book is in the final part where he drifts into a sort of mystical paranormal explanation of how the aliens pass on their knowledge. After exploring the possible hard evidence this really is off putting and the mention of people like Uri Geller doesn’t help the case at all.
Unfortunately there are also real difficulties with Coppen’s best evidence for ancient alien contact. I would love to comment on all of them, but will just take a couple of his examples that I have some knowledge of. But firstly three general observations: 1. note how often the human sources of some of the information seem not to exist or have vanished; 2 all the ‘evidence’ is considered in the light of our current knowledge, but surely aliens from a galaxy far, far away (to coin a phrase) would have technology far superior to ours (e.g. would they really need to use and leave dodgy evidence of aeroplanes just like ours?); and 3) Coppen is a bit hard on the lack of interest from scientists – remember that the application of scientific methods to archaeology such as methods for objective dating of finds and forensic studies of human remains, are quite recent developments. Indeed when they are applied, the evidence for a good many supposed ancient alien artefacts vanishes (as evidence of this consider the number of items regarded as god evidence in this book compared with earlier books).
He mentions sites allegedly providing evidence for nuclear blasts in ancient India. In the case of Mohenjo Daro, he claims that the excavation revealed “… hundreds of scattered bodies – in the middle of the street, some holding hands. People were just lying, unburied, in the streets of the city; there seemed to be no-one available to bury them.” He then asks what could cause such devastation and why the bodies didn’t decay or get eaten by wild animals. The problem is there weren’t hundreds of bodies (30 odd), they were discovered at different levels (new cities were built on top of the old ones so they didn’t all die at once) and they had been buried (so not available for wild animals to eat and the dry climate allowed some degree of preservation). Also, much of the place was still standing – hardly what you’d expect of somewhere allegedly nuked. Another ‘fact’ he mentions is the presence of ‘black stones’ at Mohenjo-Daro that ‘appear to be fragments of clay vessels that melted together in extreme heat…’. Yes, well not exactly! These seem to have been the remains of broken pots that had been kiln made.
As to actually radioactive sites it seems unlikely that if they exist they are from incidents several thousand years ago. Most of the radioactive isotopes produced in an atomic blast have fairly short half-lives and after the time elapse that the theory of ancient nukes involves any radiation is unlikely greater than the natural background level. (Details though do depend on whether the blast is at ground level or in the atmosphere.)
Another problem is with the so called alignment of various sites (e.g. pyramids and Hopi sites) with the shape of Orion or his belt. Re the belt – you take pretty much any row of three nearby objects and imagine they are a rough representation of Orion’s belt, so I don’t find these arguments convincing. As to the Hopi connection, the way to make them fit the shape of the constellation involves selecting a few sites from a large number and using those from a couple of different periods/cultures. Again unconvincing.
Another rather dodgy bit of proof is the Piri Reis map of 1513 allegedly depicting the then unknown Antarctic coast. He gives Gregory McIntosh’s excellent book on this a mention but then argues that this sort of analysis looks at everything in isolation and when you look at the map as a whole a different picture emerges, but this isn’t right. For instance he misleadingly says: “it has the correct longitude difference, at a time when calculating longitude was practically impossible”. But the map doesn’t use latitude and longitude in the sense that we know them. It’s what’s known as a portolan chart (named after where they originated) and uses a system of putting compass roses at key points and then drawing azimuths radiating from them.
Finally, I think he gives Erich von Daniken rather too much credit, after all he wasn’t the first to write about the idea and many of his suggestions/examples/questions were, to say the least, suspect. (I can’t resist one example that Phillip Coppens mentions – Daniken’s likening of some of the Nasca lines to an airport. Fans of Black Adder will remember that on learning that a turnip had been grown that looked like a willie, Baldrick commented that he had a willie that looked like a turnip.)
Some chapters are a lot better than others in this book. And although he says he is a 'sceptic' by the end of the book he clearly has made his mind up about certain theories, and this is where the book looses it's way. The last bunch of chapters descend into a lot of old hogwash about mystics, shamans from deep inside the Amazon jungle and their trippy drugs, other dimensions and non physical entities and the like, which the author argues more as fact than the previous 'questions' that he addressed earlier in the book.
When he started talking about Uri Geller (a proven fraud) and other people with supposed special abilities, he goes on about the more mystical side of things, which is a lot harder to support without the hard physical evidence such as all the archaeological or historical records and empirical evidence which he started the book focusing on, he looses some credibility.
His belief that UFO's are not actually physical things is a bit of a jump, and he doesn't address a whole branch of UFOology by doing this. I know his focus is on 'ancient aliens' but the thousands upon thousands of modern UFO sighting of clear physical objects which show up on radar and leave physical traces etc would suggest that these 'visitors' are probably not some mystical angel type deities that can only be experienced by drug enhanced spiritual 'crossing over' to some other dimension or higher plane, but more than likely, actually genuine Extra terrestrial biological beings.
I had just hoped for a more scientific approach to the question, and although good in parts such as the archaeological studies, I think this book descended a little too close to religious, spiritual territory and unfounded leaps of faith by the author at the end.
I approached The Ancient Alien Question with some trepidation. Finding a foreword by EVD himself further reduced my hopes and expectations. Very quickly, I found I couldn't put the book down. I'm quite familiar with the territory, but Philip Coppens managed to bring something new and exciting to the table. Best of all, he mantained an objective, rational stance that reveals where he stands but leaves the reader to make their own judgements.
The Ancient Alien Question is a very good read. Well paced. Logically constructed. Full of interest. The book is particularly useful for those new to the subject.
There is more to come and I hope Philip is planning a follow up.
Plenty of food for thought...I like that in a book!
What can I say that hasn't already been said? Not only was the late Filip Coppens a talented author and researcher, he inspired a new generation of believers (I include myself here) as a contributor to the Ancient Aliens TV Show.
Filip Coppens' The Ancient Alien Question is a well thought out, well written book that in some ways reminded me of a more modern, colourful version of Erich Von Daniken's classic; Chariot of the Gods. Like many, I was first introduced to Coppen's style of research through the Ancient Aliens program by the History Channel. I personally identified with him more than some of the other contributors because of his reluctance to simply believe everything without first checking it out. As you might imagine this transfers over really well into The Ancient Alien Question.
Everything from the Nasca lines to Puma Punku and the Giza Pyramids are covered. What surprised me about the book however was that Coppens challenges at least one of Sitchin's (Zecharia) claims, and also brings new evidence forth to suggest that the Dogan (who many now claim possess information about the solar system which they should never have had except through ET intelligence) actually possess no such knowledge. Since Sitchin's work was what got me into reading extra-terrestrial themed books in later years, and for awhile i had believed in his work sincerely, seeing Coppens expose the late scholar was both interesting and slightly disheartening. Then again, truth is truth and in this subject, it is of extreme importance that truth be not treated flippantly since we are at odds with an entire public whose only exposure to the UFO phenomena is the "the little green men" that silly news channels and news papers laugh off, much to their detriment.
All in all a fascinating book. If you found the topics in the Ancient Aliens TV program interesting and like your UFO/Alien books properly researched, this is for you.
Whether a newcomer or seasoned sceptic this book is a must for the personal library.A very easy read with a clear explanation of established views,alternatives and the author's own personal take.I found myself conducting further research after reading this book to get a better understanding of certain aspects.The theory concerning the limestone blocks forming the Giza pyramids is a real eye opener.
As other reviewers have commented i was also a bit hesitant in the begining about this book in view of the foreword by EVD;bad publicity lasts a long time and can cloud our judgement.However, i read this book with an open mind and glad i did.
Overall an excellent reference book that i know that i will reread.
The author himself admits that there is no definitive proof to his theories and does adopt a fairly sceptical approach (even going so far as to completely destroy some of the more fanciful theorists), but does explain his theories well and how the limited evidence available does fit in. The book provides a good overview of the field of ancient astronaut theory. Additionally puts forward the view that the "ancient alien question" should challenge science to work harder to explain things that do make sense, criticising the field for perpetuating certain dogmatic views and ridiculing ancient alien theorists rather than attempting to disprove them.
I feel the book is spoiled to an extent in the later chapters when Coppens takes as fact testimonies from sources that claim to have had certain visions, seemingly abandoning his sceptic approach in this case. Overall I would recommend this book as it does provide a good overview of the field and certainly provides food for thought if nothing else.
That is a book I advice anyone interested in Ancient Alien Theory to read, so many interesting perspectives on many cases and situations, still the late Phil Coppens, in my opinion, got wrong in so many cases. Don't get me wrong he is an interesting researcher, he strives to get his facts right but his lack of intuition can be perceived here and there, he disavows the most obvious cases under deceptive debunking work (Roswell for instance), but supports stuff that are not really reliable, like channelling. So though he does some good work in a lot of the book I found myself disagreeing on him several times. Even if you are a beginner to the study you may read this one without a problem, it is a easy reading after all.