Pseudoarchaeology can be practised intentionally or unintentionally. Archaeological frauds and hoaxes are considered intentional pseudoarchaeology. Genuine archaeological finds may be unintentionally converted to pseudoarchaeology through unscientific interpretation. (cf. Confirmation bias)
Pseudoarchaelogy is frequently motivated by nationalism or a desire to prove a particular religious (cf. Intelligent design), pseudohistorical, political or anthropological theory. In many cases, an a priori conclusion is established, and fieldwork is undertaken explicitly to corroborate the theory in detail.
Practitioners of pseudoarchaeology often rail against academic archaeologists and established scientific methods, claiming that conventional science has overlooked critical evidence. Conspiracy theories may be invoked, in which "the Establishment" colludes in suppressing evidence.
Folk archaeology may have wide support: "American archaeologists' reaction to demands of Native Americans for reburial of prehistoric skeletal remains illustrates the manner in which an impassioned public may sway professional opinion and behavior," Michlovic observed.
Archaeologists schooled in Marxism and Critical Theory argue that scientific thought can support contemporary ideology by taking advantage of scientists' status as 'experts'. Incorporation of postmodernism into archaeological theory has led some archaeologists (e.g. Bettina Arnold, Bruce Trigger) to explore the role of archaeology in state formation and to reexamine archaeologists' status as professedly neutral investigators of the past. The growth of Cultural Resources Management, wherein archaeology is used to guide political decisions, does little to refute these ideas.
Most archaeologists attempt to distinguish their research from pseudoarchaeology by pointing to differences in research methodology, including recursive methods, falsifiable theories, peer review, and a generally systematic approach to collecting data. Few see themselves as unwitting cogs in a wider conspiracy, and many strive to make their work relevant to contemporary society. Though there is overwhelming evidence of cultural connections informing folk traditions about the past, objective analyses of folk archaeology, in anthropological terms of the cultural contexts from which they emerge and the cultural needs to which they respond have been comparatively few: R. Silverberg located the Mormon's use of Mound Builder culture within a larger cultural nexus and the voyage of Madoc and "Welsh Indians" was set in its changing and evolving sociohistorical contexts by G. Williams.
At Glastonbury Abbey in 1291, at a time when King Edward I desired to emphasize his "Englishness" a fortunate discovery was made: the coffin of King Arthur, unmistakably identified with an inscribed plaque. Arthur was reinterred at Glastonbury in a magnificent ceremonial attended by the king and queen.
Pyramidiots, Nazis, and post-modernists.(Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public)(Book review)
Sep 22, 2008; Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public, edited by Garrett G....
Garrett G. Fagan (ed.). Archaeological Fantasies: How pseudoarchaeology misrepresents the past and misleads the public.(Book review)
Jun 01, 2007; GARRETT G. FAGAN (ed Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology misrepresents the past and misleads the public....