10,000 things wrong with 10,000 BC

*Warning this post contains movie spoilers*
I love movies. I love watching them and I love critiquing them. From an archaeological/historical standpoint 10,000 BC is just asking for it. It is a horrible inaccurate movie. Suppressing my inner archaeologist, the movie still sucks. My personal scale of movie watching ranges from ‘sell your friend’s, non vital, organs to see this movie’ [see ‘Iron Man’ trailer] to ‘ignore this movies existences, perhaps employ damnatio memoria (removing all traces of a person or event- I believe the Egyptians first used it, but I only remember the Roman equivalent) [DON’T see ‘One Million Years BC’]. 10,000BC falls towards the later perhaps in the ‘download illegally’ category, I don’t advocacy video piracy but this movie is so bad and has already made enough money to warrant not giving them anymore.

A favorite website of mine is the International Movie Database (www.imdb.com) and they were oh so nice enough to compile a list of historical goofs. Here is just a few.

1) Where the hell is this sole white tribe from? They are near the snowy ‘mountains’; a week’s walk away a rain forest and a short trek to the desert surrounding Egypt. What is this the land of mother natures menopause? The only mountains I know that are South of Egypt are in ancient ‘Nubia’, and we all know they are know for their abundance of white people. Seriously, why is there one group of honkies surrounded by all black tribes? What are they the ancestors of the ‘White trash clan’? I don’t think they would be sexually racist considering the size of their clan. I have never seen a comparably large pile of mammoth crap until I saw paintings of Aryan Jesus, it looked like he stepped off the cross and into Hitler’s mental image of a super race. Jesus was not white! He was a dark skinned! Get used to it!

2) Where did THIS come from? Here white travelers, enjoy some hot peppers and corn, oh and watch out for those ‘terror birds’. It is a real shame that all of these things were originally from Central/South America. Peppers and corn didn’t make their way to the ‘old world’ until the 16th Century. Is the lone white tribe secretly time traveling Portuguese/Spanish traders who suffer from amnesia?

3) What the TIME is it? The technical term is ‘anachronism’ which is something from a different period time placed in a historical setting. Classic movie reference/anachronism- the digital watch on the wrist of an extra in Ben-Hur. There are at least six of these ‘chrono-boo boos’ (including the chili peppers and corns).

Bad guy- “I have an idea. Lets get take slaves using our horses. Transport our slaves, in metal shackles, via sailboats up the Nile to our evil den. Why do this? So they can help out the mammoths who are building the pyramids.”

    Wow, where to begin. Lets just say apart from slavery, sadly, existing and people having stupid ideas none of that is historically accurate. The innovation of metal work, sailing and animal domestication coupled with the building of the pyramids all happened at a much later date. How far are off is the movie (all dates rounded)?  Metal working- 5,500BC, sailing- 4,000 BC, animal domestication- horses 6,000 and mammoths NEVER and building of the pyramids 2,630 BC. It also needs to be said that there is no archaeological evidence for slaves being employed to build the pyramids. Thats right, the book of Exodus is full of it. (Mark Lehner 2003- http://harvardmagazine.com/2003/07/who-built-the-pyramids.html )

Sexism, as well as historical ignorance, rears its ugly head too. While mammoths were never domesticated as pack animals and are now extinct, we can compare them to their closest surviving ancestor the elephant. Sometime during the movie one of the characters states “that one is the lead bull”. Ops, turns out elephants, and by association mammoths, are matriarchal, that’s right, big momma is in charge of the herd. Your sexism makes fictitious ‘Aryan-Jesus’ cry!

This rant could go on and on but anger clouds the mind and makes people stupid. If I keep ranting, I might actually become so dumb that just before my brain shuts down I will reverse my opinion about this movie. Instead, I will talk about why I hate movies like this.

Why does this movie invoke hatred in my soul?  It is part jealousy and part being witness to the corruption of everything I know to be true. I say jealousy because Hollywood can shape, and potentially educate, the public in a way archaeologists never will. As if being confused with a paleontologist on a daily basis wasn’t enough, now, I will have people asking me about the domesticated mammoth. As for the corruption, I will never look at the Sphinx, or domesticated crops the same way. In the movie the Sphinx is actually a saber-toothed tiger and the hero is given a bag of seeds (with corn kernels) to take back to ‘white mountain’ with the directions ‘plant these, they will feed your [honky, likely inbred] clan’. I have tried my hand at growing crops and its not easy, apart from making farmers look like lazy bastards, the film makes the social transition from hunter-gather to agricultural look like it happened over night. Well it didn’t; it took at least 500 years and the change was not a totally beneficial.

Perhaps what angers me the most is that I love movies and its crap films like this that push me away from that which I love.

For more information of the inaccuracies of the film, go to; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443649/goofs .

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23 Comments on “10,000 things wrong with 10,000 BC”

  1. Douglas Todd Says:

    Hmmm, I’m waiting for the sequel myself, 20,000 BC. Or is that 5,000 BC: Rise of the Brewertons! Queen Street coughed up some more paleosol-coated secrets today. One feature, ghostish in appearance, contained a lovely celt and good ol Feature 43 had one amazing Early Woodland cache blade in it which was, get this, close to 6.5 inches long and as wide as your palm! The Genesee points are actually museum quality… incredible! Gives more credence to Fort Erie being the Genesee point capital of the world. Feature 16 contained a broken 13th century pot. Bring on plough zone archaeology! The new kids are speechless at the size and density of the debitage. Oh, and Blake, Mama G says hello!

  2. Douglas Todd Says:

    Hulluuuuuuu? Is this thing on?

  3. Jean Says:

    Blake,
    I am very much enjoying your posts! Thanks for sharing you time in Scotland with us.
    Jean

  4. Shaun Austin Says:

    Hey Blakie,

    Your blog is actually entertaining! Keep writing.
    We miss you in the trenches. Both your father and Nurse Game visited our excavations along Queen St. in the last week.
    The weather is slowly getting better here. I thought I saw a scruffy looking black bear coming out of hibernation the other day but it was just Doug after a bender.

    Bye

  5. Douglas Todd Says:

    Sorry to scare you, Shaun, I have since shaved. Shaun, in your last post to Biilie’s blog you said, and I quote, “your blog is actually entertaining!” Actually? Was there any doubt? Ouch! I’m howlin here!

  6. ncaditya.com Says:

    I saw this movie. It is historically inaccurate and some of the “actors” acted more than they got paid for.
    Loved the lake wall paper in the last scene :)

    But it the end it entertained my 10 year old cousin. All that ends well is well :)

  7. Dewey Says:

    I saw this movie in theater and I just finished DVD at home. I so confused about 2 things which are 1. Where those people(White) come from? and 2. I think pyramid was not build in 10000 B.C. So I Tried to google to figure out why this movie was telling story like this.

    By the way, Thank you a lot for the great information about this movie.


  8. [...] 10,000 BC (2008): There are mammoths helping to build the pyramids in 10,000 B.C. Hmm. The first pyramid wasn’t built until about 2630 B.C. And that’s just one of the many things the moviemakers got wrong in this film. [...]

  9. Apple Says:

    So you and a commenter (and probably others on the interwebs) associate the Yagahl Tribe with the White Tribe or white people. Why is that? They do not call themselves the white tribe in the entire movie, nor do any characters. I am sorry but worthy “historians” are critical readers of texts. I would venture so should worthy “archaeologists”. It seems like you are saying that they are the White Tribe because they look white in your opinion. This reminds me of shoddy archaeological work (this is my opinion, as archaeologist continue this) in which they classify people based upon phenotypical qualities–the skulls of “white” people versus “non-whites”. The leader of the Yagahl Tic Tic is played by Cliff Curtis–who by name and phenotypic qualities looks white to you, but is actually of Maori descent. Old Mother’s actress is of Chinese and Black Jamaican descent. Baku, the kid actor, is clearly of African descent also. Evolet is Brazilian–from her mix of various European ancestries, she also has heritage from the aboriginal tribes of Brazil. Finally, your first point seems to say that white people who live among black people are white trash. I don’t really know what to say about that, nor do I know what to say about “sexual racism” and “Aryan Jesus”–despite your “critique” “from an archaeological/historical standpoint”, I did not see either in the film.

    Since they never mentioned the Nile or Egypt and you state–because it’s obviously impossible to watch a film without knowing the specific geography–that peppers, corn, and ‘terror birds’ were from the Americas, maybe, just maybe, the film could be set in the Americas. I know of no evidence that ‘terror birds’ existing at all and black peppercorn existed in the “Old World”, by the way. They do have the Amazon River, rainforest, mountains, desert all within very close distance to each other. They even had ‘pyramids’ of some sort. What should I say about your film critique that refers to imdb’s user generated goof page for archaeological and historical information?

    I should point out since your main criticism of this film is that it is anachronistic and inaccurate that they did not have film cameras as far as we know in 10,000 BC. So I am unclear why YOU are expecting a fictional film to accurately portray life in 10,000 BC? Do you generally look to films made in 2008 AD as historical records for 10,000 BC? Also, I am not sure how the same could be for the film as some sort of archaeological artifact. Out of your factual critique of this film, I guess the idea that the Old Mother gave her breath and died and brought Evolet back to life is a more feasible and less egregious notion than other possibilities. Heh . . .

    As far as film critiques, I don’t think that this film was very good. I do think there are some very negative racial allegories at play, whether intended or not, in that the ‘messiah’ figure is portrayed as the ‘white-est’ looking character saves the non-whites in a film littered with racial stereotypes and ethnic cues—such as the ‘Arabesque’ men lustily taking the blue-eyed heroine. Can you win someone over to fight a large empire by simply saying ‘I am older than I look’? This clichéd movie does not even do the clichés well. Even if someone were willing to put up with the conceits and film conventions this film uses—I was, this was not a great film. Critiques like yours are probably why films generally suck—and makes me suspect archaeology—I thought that archaeology didn’t deal with the truth but with evidence and hypotheses and theories that rational people can reasonably and open-mindedly discuss and disagree with amiably.

    • RidgewayWilliams Says:

      Hi Apple,

      Throughout the film there is an artificially clear cut line between groups which I find laughable. Given that there is no written history of 10, 000 BC it is difficult to read in that text.

      Archaeologists do not classify humans on ethnicity. Only forensic specialists attempt do this based off of metric and non metric traits and they only do this to help identify the victim. Archaeologists more often use stable isotope testing which tells where a person has lived most of their life based off of what they ate.

      I was using humour to A) comment on modern ethnic tensions and to B) point out the clear lack of ethnocentrism which is laughable given that these tribes would likely be competing for resources. Given the historic record, competitors rarely have positive opinions of each other, especially when one has a paradigm-shift inducing technique (agriculture) and the other does not.

      Yes the film could be set in the Americas but horses (as we know them) were first brought over by Europeans. Also have you tried sailing a ship up the Amazon River? The terror birds they mention are actually dinosaurs called “Phorusrhacids” and they existed but never alive at the same time as humans. Also black pepper corns are native to India which is part of “the Old World” (Eurasia) as supposed to the “New World” (the Americas). This is my beef, they mixed different times, technologies and geographic locations with no shame. Yes they do have pyramids in the Americas but they are stepped, they were made as early as 1000 BC and they didn’t make large statues to woolly mammoths.

      I’m just going to cut to the end of your comments and go from there. I fail to see how my opinion on a bad film perpetuates bad films, that just doesn’t make any sense. Archaeologists do rely on evidence but we are entitled to our opinions on films and other products that simply ignore the knowledge we, archaeologists, have worked hard to find, analyze and share. This film not only ignored the accumulated knowledge of archaeologist but also failed to entertain (as it received 3.2/10 on rotten tomatoes). I expected a good story that is held within the realm of reasonable. Just because a film was made in modern times doesn’t mean it has to ignore the known technologies of the time (try seeing Black Robe). Given that we have clearly put more research, logic and critical thought into this discussion that any writer or historic researcher who worked on this film perhaps we should just call it a day

  10. Josh Says:

    Jeez you guys really are getting passionate about historical inaccuracies, true the film made a lot of money and it’s bastardization of history is asking for it but I didn’t think it was all that bad, I enjoyed it, the story was simple, fine, sit back relax and watch a ” fantasy” film and stop getting your knickers in a knot about history. I can see so many people getting worried about “the stupid” people of the world taking it seriously, well it’s 2012, graham Hancock has got Em all excited, and all us rationally minded fellas can sit back and watch them all get nervous and upset and we’ll all wake up a day after winter solstice…. Hang on I live in the antipodes , how does that work, does that mean I have to wait till next July…..shit perhaps the end of the world will happen next month for me…oh dear….my point being my enlightened friends is don’t get to upset about a film that bends the truth a hell of a lot and just enjoy it, a lot of work went into making it, loved the tribesmen…. And let those little monkeys who thinks its actually what happened sip a their little cup of hemlock on December 20… I’ll be enjoying a beer in hot weather down here and probably Chrissy shopping.

    Ps- 500 years! Where did you pull that figure from?! At least 500 to shift from hunter gathering to agriculture!!! Ha ha ha oh dear, no its not that easy to grow crops, but passing it on to someone saying grow these is probably how it spread, not only that crop sowing probably happened over millennia, if we think of it rationally, first there is the decision to eat it, to try it,to then find it appetizing, to find then that some of the seeds probably grow from your shit, so then you shit and come back a couple of months later where you shat, to find more grew… On and on and on until we get to industrialized farming, the notion that this took five hundred years is just as ridiculous as assuming it happened over night and the presumption that the film proposed this “happened over night, here grow these” obviously puts you in the bracket of people that the white people arethe ones who made this happened….it’s obvious they didn’t start it, they borrowed the technology….plus this constant reference to ” archeology” is incorrect, if you really want to establish your intelligence on this subject try using anthropology as a word, your arguments may have more sway.

  11. Thomas Says:

    You can show off by saying how many “anachronisms” (good one, imposing that your reader would not understand) there are in this piece of work, but let me PLEASE disappoint you: anyone coming from a German-type schooling system could enumerate a lot more “factual” errors than you. But these errors are not that factual. Who did say that this was going to be an anthology/recollection of (part of) the history of human kind? It is a fiction with the catching and conveniently round title “10.000 BC”. Who did ever evaluate “Alien” on historical facts? I could go on and on saying how mislead you are, how much you misunderstood the movie. This is not a good movie, but being pseudo-intellectual and criticizing it on completely unrelated grounds won’t make you any smarter or funnier.

    • RidgewayWilliams Says:

      Hi Thomas,

      Well feel free to provide more factual errors if you wish. Many of the points I highlighted are currently accepted by mainstream archaeologists which is is about as close we are going to get to “fact”. My bone of contention lies within the notion that Hollywood and the media as a whole can shape thousands of peoples opinions quicker than any archaeological paper can ever hope. Contact with Aliens hasn’t occured, as far as I know, so everyone is willing to suspend their disbelief, I don’t feel that is as likely to occur with events that transpired in human history. There are many horribly wrong stereotypes about the past and when I see a few more added to the pile I get a little bothered. I didn’t misunderstand the movie, perhaps I overestimated what it could have been but Hollywood could still make a historically accurate movie with a good plot without adding dinosaurs. I wrote that post more than two years ago and since then I have graduated with my Masters degree in archaeology and have been working in the field and publishing papers and reports so I don’t think you can really call me a “pseudo-intellectual”. Finally if you thought the movie was bad and my take on a bad movie was also bad, then what do you hope to accomplish by adding your two cents?

      • Thomas Says:

        Please read the context: I point towards the “fact” that this is a fiction, a feature film, not a documentary and therefore factual errors are not actually factual, because they do not pertain to our true history. I would never debate that dinosaurs, mammoths and the pyramids cannot coexist, but I would never endeavor to criticize Asterix movies for their historical fidelity.

        Please read the context: being pseudo-intellectual and taking unrelated grounds… Nobody said that you are not educated (just for the record: I hold an MPhil and currently pursue my PhD in economics), but come on, showing off how smart you are by attacking this movie?!

        Have you actually met people whose opinion was shaped by this? If you did, there is something genuinely wrong with you environment. How can there be stereotypes about the past? There are facts, as you so eloquently put it… How can one be opinionated about the past? We learn history in school, we get the facts that you archeologists pin down, we watch a popcorn movie for fun and that is it.

        Adding my two cents… This made me wonder if you know what the web is for… You compile a post from IMDB goofs, post it, enable comments but then come against anyone and everyone who does not praise your writing skill, humor and take on the movie. Luckily, the web is large enough for everybody.

        Have a nice day, good luck with your research.

  12. Iris Says:

    The historical inaccuracies have been posted and I agree with them. What bothered me the most were the depiction of ice age mammals. Terror birds lived in the Americas, not Europe or Africa. And as someone who knows a lot about animals and animal locomotion, I can confidently say that elephants, the descendants of mammoths, do not lope like these mammoths did. Elephants run with a two beat gait, akin to a horses trot. They do not have a rolling 3 beat gait like ungulates and most carnivorous mammals. They don’t have the anatomy to pull that off.

  13. SHoop Says:

    EVERYTHING IN THIS ARTICLE. ALL OF IT. This is what I was thinking the whole film. I actually physically facepalmed a few times, it was so painfully terrible.

  14. Astra Says:

    That’s why I’m trying to write a book set in this time period, so if anyone decides to make a movie based on it, it should at least be historically accurate. Though it will be a fantasy work (I mean there will be magic involved), I’m collecting information on this time because there seems to be so little to know about it. But even I know ice age animals were extinct by then…

  15. trevanti Says:

    An absolutely fantastic and, antithetically to Roland Emmerich, completely accurate description of events. Keep up this stellar work!

  16. Casey Noonan Says:

    Thank you. I had to watch this movie in school & there was so many mistakes. This helped me a lot.

  17. scott Says:

    It is a movie, for entertainment , not history. Do you attract Star Trek movies too? The movie is fiction. Do you know what fiction is? Give me a break.

    • RidgewayWilliams Says:

      I can’t say Star Trek movies are attracted to me personally. I enjoy them but they don’t follow me around like hungry dogs. Do I criticize them as I believe you meant? I might laugh at some unintentionally funny things but that is future facing. Its funny when people in the past were horribly wrong like the head of IBM saying there would only be a market for 5 computers. I personally cut future based fiction more slack along with fantasy movies as it is easily understood that has not happened and no one would ever think that it did happen.

      I do know what fiction is and I’m aware you can make a good historical fiction movie without being a terrible storyteller. If there are a few mess ups, that’s cool, we’re all human but I thought that was awful and the unnecessary and crappy additions of dinosaurs didn’t help. Gladiator and Master and Commander are excellent block busters that aren’t 100% historically accurate but they were damn good and tried hard to stick to the truth. Did you enjoy that movie? Did you enjoy it enough to take to the internet to comment on a 6 year old post about it?


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