There's a reason they're called the Wonders of the World. Immortal ancient ruins like the Pyramids of Ghiza leave the modern mind to wonder how it's possible that primitive people with nothing but rudimentary tools, a vision, and a few million expendable slaves could achieve such grand yet precise architecture. Their beauty is so baffling, some find it easier to assume that they're the result of hyper-advanced spacefaring aliens doing some minor Minecrafting on our planet -- particularly if these Wonders were built on certain parts of the planet.
Blame Indiana Jones for making it so exciting to think our past holds clues to something otherworldly. Today, hundreds of articles, listicles and roughly 105% of History Channel content is devoted to asking the question: did them there aliens done did them pyramids? It combines the fun learning of history with the adventurousness of ufology, the saucer-centric conspiracy theories made downright cute by contemporary imbecilities like anti-vaxxers or QAnon. They also give rise to talking heads like the world's most memeable UFOlogist, Giorgio "Mr. Static" Tsoukalos, who can claim that the Moai or Easter Island Heads couldn't have been erected by humans because "wooden rollers wouldn't be able to support the weight" and audiences will chuckle like he's a wacky character and not some unstable loner spouting the medieval equivalent of claiming jet fuel can't melt steel beams.
But alien construction theories are a lot more sinister than they let on. Pull up a random article listing the most likely ancient alien monuments and chances are none of these edifices are located inside of Europe. Many archeologists, like Sarah Parcak, have observed that the (white) historians and conspiracy theorists peddling these hypotheses almost always tend to "focus on places home to black, brown and Indigenous people. They'll also often not dwell on the fact that these marvels aren't actually that old. The Moai are dated between 1250 and 1500 CE, while the impressive Incan fortress of Sacsayhuaman was constructed around 1100 CE. And if the idea that Europeans by then could build aqueducts and grand castles while aliens had to show non-Europeans how to put stones on top of each other sounds racist, that's because it is.
With alien theories having popped up right after the peak popularity of eugenics and race theory, these alien construction mythos often even follow a classic kind of colonialist condescension that non-white peoples have and will always need a superior to give them the gift of civilization. For them, it's valid to be so cynical of non-white achievements, it's fair to wonder if the mathematical majesty that is the pre-Aztek citadel of Teotihuacan or the Nazca geoglyphs are probably the work of some race of extraterrestrial superbeings. Who probably look white. And male. And Anglo-Saxon.
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Top Image: History