Artifact or Fiction

(American Treasures)

In 2009, Kirk began a film project that documented the folks that call up archaeologists, asking us to come out and investigate their amazing discovery (think…a Bigfoot footprint, a meteorite with an image of God burned into it, or the Knights Templar treasure buried in a backyard in Pennsylvania). Most archaeologist ignore these claims, often for good reason – it is time consuming and often goes nowhere. But Kirk wanted to investigate their claim, conduct an interview, and explain to them why this coffee mug was not the Holy Grail. To him this was a great opportunity to create a collection of stories over the years to use as a teaching tool in his introduction to archaeology course.

 

The following year the concept was morphed into a television show on Discovery Channel and given the unfortunate and unethical title of American Treasures (later renamed Artifact or Fiction). The production of the show was a constant uphill battle of trying to persuade the network to adhere to the Principles of Archaeological Ethics defined by the Society for American Archaeology. After six months of filming and fighting with Discovery, ten 30-minute episodes were completed.

 

Here are two of Kirk's favorites.

Episode 1 - Guns & moonshiners
Episode 9 - katrina & voodoo