In a former incarnation as an archaeologist, I contributed to and sometimes appeared in documentary series such as Past Finders, Secrets of the Dead, Meet the Ancestors and Time Team, while I also dealt with the world’s media when I worked as part of the Media & Communications Department at Wessex Archaeology.
After I’d started publishing material on Stonehenge and other monuments, and after the publication of my book The Missing Years of Jesus, I received a substantial amount of favourable media attention worldwide, as well as requests for interviews, personal appearances and the like. This was all very gratifying, but as I don’t publish or post on these subjects anywhere near as often as I once used to, I assumed that those heady days were behind me and I was perfectly content with this.
A few nights ago, however, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an extremely polite and appreciative enquiry from the USA, from one of the team of the Ancient Aliens series on which my late friend Filip Coppens used to appear regularly. I won’t go into detail about the precise nature of this enquiry or who made it, as I wouldn’t want to risk spoiling any possible surprise for the legions of the viewers this series commands, so I’ll simply say for now that it concerned the details of an overlooked, or far more likely deliberately ignored aspect of Stonehenge as it was when it was in active use in remote prehistory.
I’m aware that other archaeologists tend to treat this series with scorn, but I really couldn’t care less and I was more than happy to supply my material for use on Ancient Aliens, because I take the view that if it provides food for thought, elicits wonderment and engenders a further interest in our remote ancestors, then this can only be a good thing.
As far as film and television are concerned, there’s “many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip”, so my material might be explored for a few minutes, but it might equally just get a simple mention for 5 seconds or so, or else end up on the cutting room floor. I won’t know until the new series is aired, but in the meantime, I’m delighted to learn that, far from disappearing into the void, my considered thoughts on the world’s most enigmatic ancient monument continue to be sought-after and valued.