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Ancient astronauts
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Ancient astronauts

Ancient astronauts are conjectured extraterrestrial visitors to Earth in its distant past, whose existence was advocated by Erich von Däniken in his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods and its sequels. The concept was derived in part from French books on the topic, similar ideas in the earlier horror fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, and through him, from Theosophy and Charles Fort. The idea is viewed as pseudoscience (or pathological science) by most scientists and historians.

The evidence Däniken has put forward to support his theories can be categorised as follows:

Since the publication of Däniken's books, no substantial evidence has been found to verify his claims, and experimenters and historians have made great progress in explaining how structures such as Stonehenge and the Pyramids were built. As a result, most historians regard his claims as pseudoscience or pseudoarchaeology, and are of the opinion that he is drawing far-reaching conclusions from little evidence while disregarding more likely alternative hypotheses. Nonetheless, his theories remain popular with a large group of followers, some of whom have written books of their own.

See also