We believe we can construct a past that is veritable, that is accurate in terms of actual past events, since the past has left its mark in the present. The message of this book has been that, while there are many different possibilities, not all of these constructed pasts—not all of the possibilities—are equally plausible. Ultimately, then, we get the past we deserve. In every generation, thinkers, writers, scholars, charlatans, and kooks (these are not necessarily mutually exclusive categories) attempt to cast the past in an image either they or the public desire or find comforting. We deserve better and can do better than weave a past from the whole cloth of fantasy and fiction.

—Kenneth L. Feder, Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology, 1986

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