The Lost Tomb of Jesus documentary that the Discover Channel aired then subsequently countered and suppressed had one upside for archaeology: the popularization of the term “archaeoporn” to describe the documentary. It was actually said on a panel discussion that aired after the actual show. While this new and exciting word is sweeping the news (check out the headline!) and blog world, I wanted to see if this word has shown up before. Doing a search of “archaeoporn -jesus” gave me results not having to do with the documentary. Here are the results:
- A link to an article about a “gladiatorial torture block” at Chester, England. Here the term probably refers to the use of the block in mass entertainment during Roman times, not the sensationalist aspect of the discovery.
- A blog post from someone who had found an old CD full of pornography. Definitely not the same usage as in the Lost Tomb of Jesus rebuttal.
So there you have it, the etymology of the word archaeoporn. A relatively new word and already there are three definitions.
For those who want to know more about the statistical argument against the assertions in Lost Tomb of Jesus, Dr. Randy Ingermanson has a well-written explanation. He’s a Cal alum too!
(Basically, “Few even think to ask the question.”)
When I typed “archaeoporn” into Google, it asked if I mean “archaeopteryx.” No, Google, I really mean “archaeoporn.”