Graham Hancock
Graham Bruce Hancock

(1950-08-02) 2 August 1950 (age 72)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Alma materDurham University
Known forThe Sign and the Seal
Fingerprints of the Gods
The Message of the Sphinx
Magicians of the Gods
America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization
Spouse(s)Santha Faiia

Graham Bruce Hancock (/ˈhænkɒk/; born 2 August 1950) is a British author and journalist. He has become known to a general audience through his pseudoscientific theories[1][2] involving ancient civilizations; a topic on which he has published twelve books.[3]

The main thesis of Hancock's work is a proposed connection between the ancient cultures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Mesoamerica with a previous and more advanced 'mother culture' from which he believes later ancient cultures have emanated.[4] Hancock has received considerable criticism from historical and archeological academics for his work, which has neither been peer reviewed nor published in academic journals;[5] thus an example of pseudohistory and pseudoarchaeology.[6]

Education and journalism career

Graham Bruce Hancock was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He moved with his parents to India at the age of three, where his father worked as a surgeon. Having returned to the UK, he graduated from Durham University in 1973, receiving a First Class Honours degree in sociology.[7][8]

As a journalist, Hancock worked for many British papers, such as The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, and The Guardian. He co-edited New Internationalist magazine from 1976 to 1979, and served as the East Africa correspondent of The Economist from 1981 to 1983.[7]

Graham Hancock is married to Santha Faiia, a professional photographer specializing in ancient cultures and monuments.[7]


Hancock describes himself as an "unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity's past".[9] Prior to 1990, his works dealt mainly with problems of economic and social development. Since 1990, his works have focused mainly on speculative connections he makes between various archaeological, historical, and cross-cultural phenomena.

His books include Lords of Poverty, The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (released in the US as Message of the Sphinx), The Mars Mystery, Heaven's Mirror (with wife Santha Faiia), Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization, and Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (with co-author Robert Bauval). In 1996, he appeared in The Mysterious Origins of Man.[10] He also wrote and presented the documentaries Underworld: Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age (2002) and Quest for the Lost Civilisation (1998)[11] shown on Channel 4.

In Hancock's book Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith,[12] co-authored with Robert Bauval, the two put forward what sociologist of religion David V. Barrett called "a version of the old Jewish-Masonic plot so beloved by ultra-right-wing conspiracy theorists."[13] They suggest a connection between the pillars of Solomon's Temple and the Twin Towers, and between the Star of David and The Pentagon.[14] A contemporary review of Talisman by David V. Barrett for The Independent pointed to a lack of originality as well as basic factual errors, concluding that it was "a mish-mash of badly-connected, half-argued theories".[15] In a 2008 piece for The Telegraph referencing Talisman, Damian Thompson described Hancock and Bauval as fantasists.[14]

Hancock's Supernatural: Meetings With the Ancient Teachers of Mankind, was published in the UK in October 2005 and in the US in 2006. In it, Hancock examines paleolithic cave art in the light of David Lewis-Williams' neuropsychological model, exploring its relation to the development of the fully modern human mind.

In 2015, his Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth's Lost Civilization was published by St. Martin's Press.

His first novel, Entangled: The Eater of Souls, the first in a fantasy series, was published in the UK in April 2010 and in the US in October 2010. The novel makes use of Hancock's prior research interests and as he has noted, "What was there to lose, I asked myself, when my critics already described my factual books as fiction?"


In Archaeological Fantasies Garrett G. Fagan points out that pseudoarchaeologists cherry pick evidence and misrepresent known facts. When apparently factual claims in their works are investigated it turns out that "quotes are presented out of context, critical countervailing data is withheld, the state of understanding is misrepresented, or critical archaeological information about context is ignored".

Fagan gives two typical examples from Hancock's book Fingerprints of the Gods (1995):

Orion correlation theory

Main article: Orion correlation theory

Representation of the central tenet of the OCT – the outline of the Giza pyramids superimposed over a photograph of the stars in Orion's Belt. To achieve this concordance the pyramids have been rotated and scaled to suit. The validity of this match has been called into question by Hancock's critics, as noted in the text.
Representation of the central tenet of the OCT – the outline of the Giza pyramids superimposed over a photograph of the stars in Orion's Belt. To achieve this concordance the pyramids have been rotated and scaled to suit. The validity of this match has been called into question by Hancock's critics, as noted in the text.

One of the many recurring themes in several of Hancock's works has been an exposition on the "Orion correlation theory" (or OCT),[18][19] supported by Belgian writer Robert Bauval and then further expounded in collaborative works with Hancock, as well as in their separate publications. OCT posits that there is a correlation between the location of the three largest pyramids of the Giza pyramid complex and Orion's Belt of the constellation Orion, as intended as such by the original builders of the Giza pyramid complex.

BBC Horizon program

BBC Two's Horizon TV series broadcast a programme, Atlantis Reborn, on 4 November 1999 that challenged the ideas presented by Hancock. It detailed one of Hancock's claims that the arrangement of an ancient temple complex was designed to mirror astronomical features and attempted to demonstrate that the same thing could be done with perhaps equal justification using famous landmarks in New York. It also alleged that Hancock had selectively moved or ignored the locations of some of the temples to fit his own theories (see below).[1]

Hancock claimed he was misrepresented by the programme, and he and Robert Bauval made complaints to the Broadcasting Standards Commission against the way Horizon had portrayed them and their work. Eight points were raised by Hancock, two by Bauval (one of which duplicated a complaint of Hancock's).[20] These included the complaint that:

The programme had created the impression that he [Hancock] was an intellectual fraudster who had put forward half-baked theories and ideas in bad faith, and that he was incompetent to defend his own arguments. Adjudication: [The Commission] finds no unfairness to Mr Hancock in these matters.[21]

The BSC dismissed all but one of the complaints. Overall, the BSC concluded that "the programme makers acted in good faith in their examination of the theories of Mr Hancock and Mr Bauval".[22] The complaint which was upheld was that

The programme unfairly omitted one of their arguments in rebuttal of a speaker who criticised the theory of a significant correlation between the Giza pyramids and the belt stars of the constellation Orion (the "correlation theory")

which the Commission did find to be unfair. That speaker was the astronomer Edwin Krupp. Krupp argued that Bauval had fudged the maps of Orion and the Pyramids by placing them upside down in terms of stellar directionality to make the theory work.[1] The BBC was not obligated to do more than broadcast an apology for the single point of unfairness but made a decision to modify the Orion sequence to demonstrate that the overall argument of the film remained intact.

In Atlantis Reborn Again, shown on 14 December 2000, Hancock and Bauval provided further rebuttals to Krupp and argued that the ancient Egyptians had made the Pyramids correlate with the three stars of Orion's Belt. However, the documentary as a whole continued to present serious doubts about Hancock's claims, demonstrating as an example how, by using his methods, the constellation of Leo may be 'discovered' among landmarks of modern Manhattan, concluding: "As long as you have enough points and you don't need to make every point fit, you can find virtually any pattern you want."[23]

Media appearances

Hancock gave a TEDx lecture titled "The War on Consciousness", in which he described his use of ayahuasca, an amazonian brew containing a hallucinogenic compound DMT, and argued that adults should be allowed to responsibly use it for self-improvement and spiritual growth. At the recommendation of TED's Science Board, the lecture was removed from the TEDx YouTube channel and moved to TED's main website where it "can be framed to highlight both [Hancock's] provocative ideas and the factual problems with [his] arguments".[24]

Hancock has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast several times.[25]

In 2009, Roland Emmerich released his blockbuster disaster movie 2012, citing Fingerprints of the Gods in the credits as an inspiration for the film,[26] stating: "I always wanted to do a biblical flood movie, but I never felt I had the hook. I first read about the Earth's Crust Displacement Theory in Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods."[27]



See also


  1. ^ a b c "Atlantis Reborn Again {programme synopsis}". Science & Nature: Horizon. BBC. 2000. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  2. ^ Fagan 2006, p. 27-28.
  3. ^ "Books by Graham Hancock (Author of Fingerprints of the Gods)". Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  4. ^ "...the belief of Hancock and other writers in a lost civilisation that passed its wisdom on to ancient Egypt or the Maya repeats the theme of Atlantis: the antediluvian world popularised by Ignatius Donnelly from 1882." Kevin Greene, Tom Moore, Archaeology: An Introduction, page 252 (Routledge, 2010 edition). ISBN 978-0-203-83597-5
  5. ^ Regal 2009.
  6. ^ Fritze (2009), pp. 214–218.
  7. ^ a b c "Biography". Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Durham University gazette, XX". Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Books by Graham Hancock - Graham Hancock Official Website".
  10. ^ Thomas, Dave (March 1996). "NBC's Origins Show". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2007.
  11. ^ "Quest for the Lost Civilization" – via
  12. ^ London: Michael Joseph, 2004. ISBN 0-7181-4315-9
  13. ^ Barrett, David V (19 August 2004). "Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith". The Independent.
  14. ^ a b Thompson, Damian (12 January 2008). "How Da Vinci Code tapped pseudo-fact hunger". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  15. ^ Barrett, David V (18 August 2004). "Talisman: sacred cities, secret faith, by Graham Hancock & Robert Bauval". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 August 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  16. ^ Denton (1981). The Last Great Ice Sheets. ISBN 978-0471060062.
  17. ^ Fagan 2006, p. 34-36.
  18. ^ Graham Hancock, Santha Faiia.Heaven's Mirror: Quest For The Lost Civilization (London: Michael Joseph, 1998). ISBN 0-7181-4332-9
  19. ^ Glenn Kreisberg (editor), Lost Knowledge of the Ancients: A Graham Hancock Reader (Bear & Company, 2010). ISBN 978-1-59143-117-6
  20. ^ "Horizon: Atlantis Reborn and the Broadcasting Standards Commission". Science & Nature: Horizon. BBC. 2000. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  21. ^ Broadcasting Standards Commission (2000). "Synopsis of adjudication: Horizon: Atlantis Reborn (November 4th 1999)" (reproduced at BBC Online). Science & Nature: Horizon. BBC. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  22. ^ Broadcasting Standards Commission (30 November 2000). "Fairness Complaints" (PDF online reproduction). The Bulletin. London: Broadcasting Standards Commission. 37: 1–3. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  23. ^ Atlantis Reborn Again BBC documentary transcript
  24. ^ "News TEDx – Open for discussion: Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake from TEDx Whitechapel", TED Blog, 14 March 2013, retrieved 28 December 2016
  25. ^ "Joe Rogan (Podcast Site)". Joe Rogan (Podcast Site). Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  26. ^ "2012 (2009) – Credit List" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  27. ^ Jenkins, David (16 November 2009). "Roland Emmerich's guide to disaster movies". Time Out. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  28. ^ "The Big Idea: Graham Hancock". 15 October 2010.


This article has an unclear citation style. The references used may be made clearer with a different or consistent style of citation and footnoting. (June 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)