I find most disquieting of all the powerful expose’ by Michael Witzel of some current trends in Indian nationalism in ‘Rama’s realm: Indocentric rewriting of early South Asian archaeology and history.’ The pressure to be oldest is commonly felt even in quite respectable academic archaeology -- claims of the oldest city, or the oldest writing, or the oldest metallurgy are relatively common.

But this turns into something much more sinister when it is used in an overt attempt to reshape national  identity, sometimes for explicit political ends. What is even more disquieting is that among the straight pseudoarchaeologists, often amateurs who put together such bricolage of misrepresentations to fabricate their synthesis, there are also serious professional scholars. This is the dangerous dividing line where pseudoarchaeology, in the sense set out here by Flemming and Fagan, becomes a nationalistic doctrine, as happened in Nazi Germany, sweeping up even serious scholars and carrying them along.

Witzel clearly shows how this is happening in some parts of the academic community in contemporary India. That this is no trivial matter is seen in the archaeological arguments that have surrounded the destruction in 1992 of the mosque at Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh, by fundamentalists (Renfrew and Bahn 2000: 537). I was personally present at the World Archaeological Conference in New Delhi in 1994, where pressure was exerted by one Indian faction to prevent any discussion of that discreditable episode and where the meetings ended in fisticuffs.

Colin Renfrew. Foreword. In:  G. G. Fagan (ed.) Archaeological Fantasies. How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public. London/New York: Routledge 2006:  xiv