Titlescreen of the Netflix series "Ancient Apocalypse"

OMG: Graham Hancock Ancient Apocalypse


Ok people, where to start? It is always difficult to get down the rabbit hole that is Pseudo-Archaeology, but let’s have a discussion. I watched, like many others, Graham Hancocks Ancient Apocalypse on Netflix and as an archaeologist, am of course outraged what he proposes, how he discredits us, and most of all how Netflix can label this series a documentation.

Graham Hancocks Ancient Apocalypse

Journalist Graham Hancock travels the globe hunting for evidence of mysterious, lost civilizations dating back to the last Ice Age.


His own claim sums it up pretty good. Graham Hancock, a journalist, believes in an advanced ancient civilisation dating back to the Ice Age, that was eradicated by a natural disaster (the Ancient Apocalypse), that has left only very few survivors. Today referred to as the Younger Dryas Impact (YDI). These survivors then diffused around the world to pass their knowledge to lesser advanced civilisations, resulting in these mysterious sites he is investigating.

His ideas are not new though. In 1882, Ignatius Donnelly published Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. In his book he proposed the same ideas as Hancock, that a sophisticated culture (Atlantis) had been wiped out by a flood 10,000 years ago. The survivors of this flood then taught the rest of the world its advanced technologies. This theory has later been taken up by the Nazis by the way, that were in search of an Atlantean “master-race”.

Very questionable theories

This example already shows how questionable these theories are. Hancock uses them throughout his books and the new pseudo-documentary on Netflix. Flint Dibble, an archaeologist from Cardiff University, has created a massive tweet on why Hancocks theories are questionable:

One thing that Hancock does not mention in the Netflix pseudo-documentary, but throughout his books is the notion that his lost advanced civilisation was white. The story Hancock tells is therefore a story about stealing inventions and achievements form non-white people. This is part of Imperial Archaeology and something that also Susanne Duesterberg has shown as a mechanism of colonialism for the Archaeology of Africa . I myself have also written about this concerning videogames.

Why it is so difficult to have a debate

It is difficult to have a debate with someone, who does not provide any real evidence, but uses archaeological evidence instead when it suits him, while ignoring other. He clearly doesn’t want to have a discussion with archaeologists as he repeatedly expresses how “mainstream archaeology” is discrediting him. I myself had a lengthily Twitter discussion that slightly got out of hand in some strains.

One thing I learned was that people respect his advances in proposing a different opinion. I can respect that, archaeologists are often simply wrong, as it is the case with every science. But it is about how you make conclusions and Hancock makes none. He repeatedly mentions the argument “that simply doesn’t make sense to me”. I am sorry Graham, that doesn’t make you right. Be that as it may, I could also live with that, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. What I am really angry about is Netflix…

Why Netflix, why?

Netflix categorises the series as a “Social and Cultural Documentary” and as “Investigative”, as if what Hancock does would be any of that. It is not a documentary, as it does not document reality, but instead questions what archaeologists already have found out. That is not wrong, but you can’t questions everything and simply propose something that comes into your mind. Hancock conveniently discusses the lack of evidence away. The big crater of the Metroid impact? Happend on ice, therefore no evidence. Remains of this so-called advanced civilisation? They collapsed and were buried under water, so no evidence.

With this rhetoric, it is quiet easy to propose anything really. Atlantis, Aliens, or globally organised archaeologists, who want to hide the truth from you. And that, I have to say, is the most unrealistic thing I have ever heard. Archaeologists like nothing more than proving other archaeologists wrong. It would be absolutely impossible to keep a secret like that. And it wouldn’t make any sense at all, but I guess that is the problem here. Common-sense seems to have gotten lost along the way of post-factualism and modern media presentation.

Seriously, don’t watch Ancient Apocalypse…

Cited Literature

Duesterberg, Susanne. 2015. Popular Receptions of Archaeology. Fictional and Factual Texts in the 19th and Early 20th Century Britain. History in Popular Cultures 14. Bielefeld: Transcript.
Trigger, Bruce G. 1984. “Alternative Archaeologies: Nationalist, Colonialist, Imperialist.” Man, New Series 19 (3): 355–70. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2802176.
  1. Reply

    Colby K


    “Archeologists often get things wrong”. This would be an indication that people should consider other possibilities to what archaeologists claim instead of believe their theories that were made and accumulated over limited science. You claim the examples listed show how ridiculous and questionable Graham’s theories were when they were “your” examples that you chose (from angst, pride, and spite) to manipulate readers into thinking it was all outlandish and they should only put their faith in archaeologists. The fact you’d even be ridiculous enough to bring race and the Nazis into this article and place them against Graham in hopes it does it’s job shows everything it needs to about you as a writer, your character as a person, your pridefulness as a archaeologist, and more importantly, your ignorance in all of their accumulation. You could have easily listed the examples that were shown in many of the episodes that were scientifically proven to have shown that archeologists were in-fact wrong (“as they often are”) in their most recent archaeological assessments of those said artifacts / historical locations. It would have been just as simple to help build the possibilities, as well as your readers, against the information of today considering it’s also very likely and almost inevitable to change in the future…but why would you do that? Your article has nothing to do with true assessment of the show and everything to do with pure biasness based around your feelings, pride, and opinion because you feel that someone like Graham Hancock shouldn’t have a platform with a theoretical opinions on archaeology unless he went to school for it, when in all actuality, he has more than likely seen, studied, and been educated directly on more ancient sights than most archaeologists themselves. You want conformity and for people to believe what they’re told by a certain group (that you’re a part of) instead of have them question that same group, whom you’ve already admitted to often be wrong. Why would anyone NOT question their theories when considering that? Throughout the course of history, science, and archaeology, the dates and time frames of historical sights and artifacts have been and continue to be pushed back later due to our ever expanding, but still limited scientific ability during the time of assessment, when it’s that same ability that archaeologists place and build all of their theories around. Why are archaeologists often wrong? Simple – because the science was limited at the time of assessment and once it progressed it only left them to be wrong….and yet the industry continues to put all of their eggs into the same basket that continues to leave them wrong often…all the while hoping for a different outcome in process. It’s dumbfounding to consider the fact archaeologists are either the walking definition of insanity as an industry or they know they are more than likely wrong but still choose to stand by their wrongness and then criticize someone who actually cares enough to find the ultimate truth towards what the archaeologists already know they are more than likely wrong about. As long as archaeologists place and build their assessments off the information of today with zero consideration on the possibilities of tomorrow, they will continue to chase science and they will continue to be wrong…often. Either way, no matter what your industry decides, it’s still all just a THEORY in the end anyway. Go get your own batting average up before you go criticize the hitting effort of someone else. Clown.

    • Reply

      Sebastian Hageneuer


      Sigh, well that comment was at least not as personal as others (thank you for that I guess?), so I decide to answer.
      Yes archaeologists are often wrong, that is true, that doesn’t mean however that other people “pushing the boundaries” are automatically right. Do you agree? I accused Graham of racial theories because he IS using them. If you find the time to read a book by Ignatius Donnelly called “Atlantis: The Antediluvian World” from 1882, you can see that Graham (and others before him) takes these theories that are over 140 years old and still holds on to them. Donnelly certainly was spreading racial theories, but for better or worse, he was part of his time in 1882 and I actually don’t expect any different. When Graham takes these theories and puts them through Netflix today however, this is a totally different picture. This is why I stand to my accusations and this is why I think Graham should not have a platform. Yes, I choose the most extreme examples, because these are the most relevant one. When Graham considers that there might be civilisations in general that we do not have discovered, I totally agree! But the whole Atlantis narrative has been disproven many times. But I don’t want to argue about that with you.
      Saying that archaeologists should do the archaeological work isn’t elitist (as you suggested), it just makes sense. Would you let me operate on you or rather let a doctor do that? Would you get into the Octogon to fight Connor McGregor or would you rather let a professional MMA fighter do that? Archaeologists train their whole life to be able to interpret data and build theories and I can assure you, there is no overarching agenda by anyone. How should there be? I know it feels good to have something to hold on to, like a long lost civilisation that had it better than we have now, but it is kind of a scam. It builds an audience and makes money. For Netflix, for Graham… If you are so open to new theories, try this: Graham just wants to make some money with racial theories, because these days, they sell pretty good (see politics for example).
      Please, if you answer, watch your language, otherwise I can’t approve the comment.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sebastian Hageneuer

Hi! My name is Sebastian. I am an archaeologist, a university lecturer, freelancer, guitarist, and father. You could say I am quiet busy, so I learned to manage my time and energy to build good habits and still have space for myself and my family. Sounds difficult? Read here how I do it. Every Friday.

Subscribe to my