A screenshot of Flint Dibble during the Roe Rogan Experience podcast.
Archaeology

Dibble vs. Hancock

on
2024-05-03

A while ago I ranted about a then new Netflix show called Ancient Apocalypse created and moderated by Graham Hancock. Naturally, I wasn’t the only archaeologist discussing this show and many more spoke out. One of them was Flint Dibble, a scholar currently affiliated with Cardiff University, who also hosts a YouTube channel, Archaeology with Flint Dibble. Joe Rogan invited him to his podcast to talk to Graham and well he did. This is Dibble vs. Hancock.

Ancient Apocalypse

So as I already wrote, the Netflix show Ancient Apocalypse is a show created by Graham Hancock, a journalist, who proposes that earth was occupied by an advanced civilisation that brought knowledge to the then primitive ice-age world, but disappeared due to a natural disaster. That is also the reason we do not find any remains of said ancient civilisation yet.

These ideas aren’t new though and Hancock simply recycles them. They date back into the late 19th century where that ancient civilisation was called “Atlantis”. The same ideas were also used by the Nazis later on to search for an Atlantean “master-race”. So as you can see, Hancocks ideas aren’t only not his own, but also very very problematic.

Dibble vs. Hancock

Enter Flint Dibble. His reaction to Hancocks show got a lot of attention right after the release of Hancocks show on Netflix. He also caught the attention of Joe Rogan, a MMA commentator, comedian, and podcaster. His podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, is huge, the biggest one by far actually. He had Graham Hancock on his podcast many times, as Rogan is very much intrigued by Hancocks theories. But to his benefit, he also invited Flint Dibble, a real archaeologist, to debate Graham Hancock.

The four and a half hour long discussion is very interesting, debating the theories of Hancock and discussing the provability of them. Both discuss a broad array of topics during the show and I can’t go into them here. But right at the start, Hancock puts himself in the role of a victim, ignored by mainstream archaeology, like so many others (that later have been proven right) before him. Later he compares the debate Flint (as many others) started to the inquisition. I don’t see the connection though and found his personal attacks very odd. In the end, it basically boiled down to one argument (IMHO): Can we infer theories from observations without proof or can we not?

Joe Rogan Experience #2136 – Graham Hancock & Flint Dibble

Further thoughts

I have to say that I have the utmost respect for Flint as he was very capable in my opinion debating Graham. It is somewhat unfair, that the one (Graham) can make one claim after the other and the respondent (Flint) needs to bring the prove to counter him. But that’s how pseudo-archaeology works. Having such a broad knowledge of Archaeology on Flints side however is not common even for archaeologists. But he also missed some shots (and I am aware that it is easier for me afterwards to come up with them then being in Flints place at the podcast).

Archaeology does not do enough

Graham repeatedly says that Archaeology hasn’t done enough to find evidence for a long lost civilisation. He keeps asking how much of the submerged continental shelf has been researched. Of course it is only a fraction, but what Archaeology actually can tell is that we have not found any evidence of Graham’s lost civilisation. This is important, because if it actually existed at some point, we would have found traces of that (through trade or otherwise), even in the small area that Archaeology has investigated. The proof Graham brings forward is unfortunately not up to modern standards. Flint comes back to this at the end, but I think that could have been a stronger point.

Feeling attacked

Then at around 2:09:00 Graham gets personal attacking Flint for his comments on his Netflix show as he feels mistreated. I ask, what he wants archaeologists that don’t agree with his theories should do? We need to debate his theories and if they are grounded in questionable theories based on racial thought, that needs to be addressed. If Graham feels mistreated that way, maybe he should have thought about his ideas in the first place or how to present them.

Media attention

Graham also repeatedly says that Flint has a huge audience and therefore a lot of media attention and influence. Come on! In its first week Graham’s show got 25 million viewing hours alone. He has written many books and as he said himself, his expeditions are financed through the people buying his books. So there are many people buying and reading his books. Graham has by far a larger audience than Flint and that is pretty obvious.


There were many arguments against Graham that could have been made, but then again, sitting in this podcast is no easy thing. I also expected Rogan to be more biased, but found he was actually pretty fair to both guests. In any case, I do congratulate Flint for his effort. By the way, at the moment of writing, the podcast had over 4,6 million views. I don’t think there are many archaeologists out there that can honestly say that so many people ever listened to them… Here, Flint took his chance – and that was really really good and thought-through – and made aware of the bad financial situation in Archaeology and that we need to put more money into the field to do more work. Well done!

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Sebastian Hageneuer
Germany

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.

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