Letter of the Day (March 24): Real archaeology

  • Updated: March 21, 2014 - 5:59 PM

Elevating a television ‘sleuth’ is a disservice to those who came before us.


Host Scott Wolter in a scene from Season 2 of the cable television show “America Unearthed,” appearing on the H2 channel.

Photo: History Channel,

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I was disappointed by the profile of Scott Wolter (“History’s sleuth,” March 19). Real archaeology is far more interesting than the fantasies Wolter spins on his television show, “America Unearthed.” Our ancestors — Native, European, African, or Asian — lived and died here; they loved and warred, built and destroyed, celebrated and mourned. Their story is excavated by archaeologists, handed down in oral traditions and written in family Bibles. This past shapes who we are today, as individuals and as a society. This past is important. It is a part of us.

We disrespect our ancestors and ourselves when we replace our real past with conspiracy theories and fakes. We don’t need to pretend that the Aztecs built pyramids under our lakes. The real indigenous peoples of this nation built giant earthen mounds from Minnesota to Louisiana. You can visit some at the Indian Mounds Regional Park in St. Paul.

We don’t need to pretend that the Knights Templar claimed North America before Columbus. There are many stories of adventure, determination and profound faith among the real European pioneers. It lessens their sacrifices to replace their history with fantasy.

The real past is fascinating. Don’t demean it by pretending that fantastic pseudoscience is equal to archaeology.

Rebecca Dean, Morris, Minn.


The writer is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

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