Dr. Alex Jamison has given this lecture at least 20 times over the years. He could recite it word for word without his notes. This particular topic was one of great interest to him. So much in fact that he spent much of his off time continuing to do research.
He was at the point of the lecture when he would start the slide show. He was sure that the class, like all the classes before them, were by now trying their hardest to stay awake and take just enough notes to get out of this class with a decent grade. Archaeology wasn’t one of the most popular majors, so for most students this was just a mandatory class they had to take to gain science hours. But that was fine with Dr. Jamison. His greatest pleasure was watching a student take his class and discover a passion for the field that he had devoted his life to. And if the class had no interested students in it, like the current class he was in front of, so be it. He would get lost in his own thoughts and come up with new ideas and theories of his own that he would spend many hours each day researching. He was in the middle of one of those moments right now.
“There is a phenomenon known as OOPART, or Out of Place Artifacts. These are man- made objects that have been discovered and believed to belong to a certain period of time. What makes these objects interesting though, is that the technology that it would have taken to create such a thing, wasn’t believed to exist at the time the object was made. Over the course of time, most of these findings are eventually explained away as having been either a natural occurrence or an outright hoax. There are a few though, that just can’t be explained away. Either we were wrong about the technological capabilities of the people of that era, or there has to be another explanation. Take for example the Viking sword Ulfbehrt. This sword was discovered and dated to be from around 800 to 1000 A.D. But when the sword was examined further, it was found to be made of iron so pure that it had to have been heated to at least 3000 degrees. The only problem is, the technology required to do that wasn’t invented until the Industrial Revolution some 800 years later. Another example is the Antikythera Mechanism. Described by some as the first ‘computer’, it was discovered at a shipwreck site in 1900, but actually dates to around 200 B.C. It was a mechanical device used to calculate the positions of planets and the sun, had dials that counted days and even calculated the timing of the Olympics. The complexity and the workmanship involved in such an instrument would not be seen again for at least a thousand years. These are just two examples of this phenomenon. Now, as I said earlier, most respected members of the scientific community have their own explanations of these objects, and they look down on any alternative explanations as ‘pseudoscience’. But the true answer is actually a statement that all scientists hate to say. “I don’t know.” We honestly don’t know the real answers to these questions, and maybe we never will. But to write off anyone who dares to think outside the box as a ‘pseudoscientist’ is not only insulting, but it’s counterproductive. Some of the most rock solid, respected scientific truths that we know today were also once seen as ‘alternative’, ‘pseudo’ or just plain crazy. That’s why a real scientist always keeps an open mind.”
As he was preparing to go to the next slide and continue on with the lecture he had given so many times, he was surprised when a student in the front row asked a question.
“So how did those artifacts get there?” The question came from a student that up until this point in the semester, Dr. Jamison couldn’t recall asking a single question.
“Well, Mr. Lopez, how do you think they got there?”
The young man gave it some thought for a few seconds before replying with a smirk, “Aliens.”
There was laughter throughout the classroom, interrupted only when Dr. Jamison raised his hand to gesture them to quiet down.
“Care to expound on that theory?”
Obviously now slightly embarrassed , the student replied, “My guess would be that aliens visited the planet at some point and gave them these devices and other technology.”
“Okay, I see a lot of you laughing at Dylan here. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss his idea. There have been some very competent scientists who believe that he may be right. The so called ‘Ancient Astronaut’ or ‘Ancient Alien’ theories. There’s even a popular TV show about that. There were even depictions of what appear to be astronauts found on petroglyphs in Italy. But since all of you obviously think that idea is absurd, I assume someone else has an alternative theory?”
The class was silent for a few seconds until another student chimed in.
“What about time travel? Maybe someone found a way to travel back in time and brought these devices or the knowledge of how to create these devices with them.”
“Believe it or not, that theory, according to some people, actually ties in with Dylan’s alien theory. There are some in the scientific community that believe that the so called UFO sightings in Roswell were actually future human beings that have mastered the art of time travel and have come back periodically throughout history to visit their ancestors.”
Dylan raised his hand again, this time a little hesitant to speak up after being laughed at the first time.
“So, Dr. Jamison, what do you think is the explanation?”
Dr. Jamison paused for a moment before replying, knowing he had the full attention of the class for the first time this semester. “Dylan, believe it or not, I think I know the truth. But if I were to say what that truth actually was, I’m afraid this would probably be my last class. There are some ideas so outrageous, no matter if they’re true or not, that just aren’t spoken out loud by a respected professor such as myself. Besides, I only have two more years before I can retire at my full salary. Maybe I’ll write a book about it then. Or, if one of you catches me at one of the
local watering holes after a few whiskeys, I’ll probably tell you every hair-brained, half-cocked theory that I’ve had rattling around in my head for the last 30 years.”
As the students quietly chuckled, Dr. Jamison looked down at his watch, and for the first time in quite a while, he was disappointed that it was time to dismiss the class.
“Alright, I’ve bored you enough for one day. You’re dismissed.”
As the students were leaving, they were all talking to one another about the lecture that they had just listened to. Dr. Jamison looked on with pride and was now even more excited about the meeting that he had with an old friend this afternoon.