Rocket Man: Istanbul Rocket Debunked

we did do the nose…

Probably one of the most challenging pieces of ancient astronaut evidence to research has been this statue depicting a space-suited man/alien on what appears to be a rocket. Part of the reason for this is that the artifact is in Turkey and has never really been on public display. At least not for very long. And really, few people have studied it, and any results of said studies are in Turkish and really difficult to track down. Searching for the artifact online will usually only turn up regurgitations of Sitchin’s story and not much else of value in an alternate view or legitimate study. Surprisingly, I do have a few positive things to say about Sitchin (as well as not so positive) so stay tuned.

The history of the rocket man is fascinating by itself. The artifact seems to have always been off display in the collections of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. How they got the artifact is up for debate, because there are two origins cited.
First, Zechariah Sitchin, after correspondence with a German magazine editor, reports in his “The Earth Chronicles Expeditions” that:

“The object was confiscated a couple of years ago from a departing tourist. He acquired it and was going to take it abroad.”

So the first origin seems to be that a tourist had picked it up in parts unknown, tries to leave Turkey with it, and got caught.

The second origin, also from Sitchin’s same book, was reported in another German magazine. This origin is:

“The object was brought to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum in 1973 by a dealer in antiques, making it clear that he wanted to sell it.”


That’s pretty straightforward, and even I would believe that Sitchin is at his most forthright here in presenting the origin of the rocket. Basically Sitchin agrees that no one can say for sure where the artifact came from or who discovered it, though Sitchin seems to like the second theory better, and it seems closer to the truth in the few online accounts that are out there. This ambiguity is generally a red flag for the legitimacy of an ancient artifact, because even in non-“alien” artifacts, forgeries abound in the attempt to gain profit or notoriety.

An uncertain origin is not always a problem though, so for the sake of the article, we’ll move forward.

Sitchin’s narrative also asks and answers a very good question. “Why is this rocket not on display?” Sitchin is right to ask this, because an ancient depiction of an astronaut and a rocket would be nothing short of amazing if it were legitimate, and it should be put on display. Kudos.

The museum’s explanation for this though is also a good answer. It was not on display because the artifact is a forgery. It’s no surprise that a museum would generally be uninterested in displaying fake artifacts, so the story really should end there, or not long after a quick follow up question.

To his credit, Sitchin asks the follow up question with something along the lines of “how do we know?”. He then quotes the museum’s reasoning from the German articles, which is 1) it doesn’t match the style of other artifacts from the same time that have been found. Mainly because it looks like a spaceman and no other Urartic artifacts look similar. 2) The artifact is made of plaster and marble powder. This is corroborated by Dr. Alpay Pasinli who further established in Sitchin’s book “there were no rocketships and spacemen in antiquity…no artifact is unique” and this rocket man is unique to the point of not fitting in the archaeological context at all.

Here Sitchin jumps to conclusions, assuming that their conclusion of a forgery is wrong solely because the museum staff do not believe there were rockets in ancient times. Sitchin neglects to consider their conclusion that the object is plaster, and he does not delve into the fact that every object has a context, which the space man does not fit into, spaceman or not. He also does not acknowledge that other Urartic artifacts should share similarities with his space man. Even if the space man was unique, one would think the space man’s workmanship or style would have something in common with it’s alleged compatriots.

It doesn’t.

Sitchin does not dispute that the artifact is out of context, he disputes that the museum rejects it because it looks like a space man while neglecting what the rocket is made of and the archaeological context of ancient Turkey. Sitchin also doesn’t delve into the idea that museums need to be very good at detecting forgeries, because even if something matches the archaeological context, people produce counterfeits all the time and even with their expertise, museums are still fooled. The fact that they were able to establish the spaceman as a forgery with seeming ease suggests that it was pretty straightforward to establish its authenticity.

Here is an article about the challenges museums face with fraud. The Fawcett idol is kind of in a similar vein to the Istanbul rocket. Museums are sometimes fooled, but in many cases, a museum should be able to detect obvious fraud and Sitchin doesn’t even attempt to present anything about how the museum detected the fraud, if he even asked, because he is so incensed by the “no space men in antiquity.” At the very least, he should have asked follow up questions along these lines and if he were an honest researcher, put them in his book to let the reader decide.

While Sitchin had handled the sculpture, he says that it did not look like a cast or plaster, despite remarking that it was light. Unfortunately, Sitchin is not an expert nor is he educated in ancient artifacts as sitchiniswrong and his writing career has established. He did not examine the rocket under a microscope or perform any tests on it, so his opinion on its authenticity is moot. It doesn’t look like a plaster cast doesn’t hold any water, even if you don’t see the marks from the mold. The museum undoubtedly examined it more closely than Sitchin did, but his complaint is not with any methods they used to ascertain authenticity. Sitchin writes nothing about any tests the museum performed, and it would seem the museum did not tell Sitchin of any that they had performed, which they really aren’t obligated to.

In any event, the museum determined the Istanbul rocket was a forgery without much controversy, something which is not always easy to do. When it is easy to do, one would expect that they would label an artifact as fake. Which the museum did.

Sitchin’s account of the meeting with Dr. Pasinli is very interesting to read, and you should, but at no point does Sitchin produce any compelling evidence to convince the museum staff the Istanbul rocket is an authentic ancient space artifact. Even though you will read online that Sitchin “convinced the museum of its authenticity and they put it on disply”. The museum and Dr. Pasinli did indeed display great generosity by allowing the artifact to be on public display at Sitchin’s insistence, even if it was displayed as a possible forgery. Not because they were convinced. Since then, the artifact was removed once a new director took over the museum.

A coverup? Probably not. Museums take stuff off exhibit all the time, and in this case it was when a new director took over the museum. He probably had other ideas for artifacts to exhibit or the rocketman wasn’t generating the revenue Sitchin had promised and was taken back to storage.

The story doesn’t end there though. In 2003, the spaceman was the subject of a Turkish news article and the article mentions that some tests were performed on the artifact confirming that it is marble dust and plaster.

The article was published on the Turkish website “Zaman” (a news site by the look of it ) and the article outlines the origin of the rocket statue. Unfortunately, the original Turkish article is no longer available…thankfully, there’s an internet archive of it…sadly, I don’t read Turkish…but Google Translate does! Kind of…

Below is the translation provided by Google, I repost the article without intent to profit from it and under the spirt of fair use, because the original is no longer up and I hope to save everybody the trouble of getting the url for it then dumping that in the wayback and then into Google translate. The quality of the translation is very poor, so I would invite anyone who can translate Turkish to English to please help with this. This article kind of did that, but it’d be nice to have another crack at it.

Here is the article in its entirety, in English without modification by me.

‘3 millennial space module’ were cast for 25 years!

Located in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and claimed to be three thousand years’ Space Module appeared 25 years ago, made of plaster.

Curators of the ‘unique’ which he described as spacecraft in the Western press ‘Urartian three thousand years of spacecraft’ titles had been the subject of numerous news. However, chemical and petrographic analysis of results that make the Ministry of Culture, Monuments and Museums General Directorate of numbness historical facts became clear that these views.

There is conflicting information about where they come from the work of the museum. Module according to one of these views are brought to the museum an antique dealer. 23 cm long and 9.5 cm in space module has 5 engine. Monuments and Museums General Director Dr. Alpay Pasinli, not the work of three thousand years ago, it might have made more than 25 years ago. Recalling that the Western scholars wrote that article, and the article in their public space module introduces three thousand years Pasinli said, “Investigations have determined that this work made from plaster and marble dust as a result.” He said.

Istanbul Archaeological Museum, one of the most popular works of Western scientists and the pursuit to see the media ‘Space Module’ to date been published dozens of articles on Europe; It was news to many newspapers and television. In the early 1990s, and they pursued the Germans to see the British archaeologist Space Module ‘, long Istanbul Archaeological Museum’ was kept hidden in the housing department. ‘Space Module was the first display of the British Forte managed Times magazine. Along with photographs of the statue in the October 1993 “The old A Space Module?” Ancestor’s magazine titles, in 1994 the German magazine “Magazine 2000 was followed. ‘Magazine’s 2000 rival broadcaster’ GARLINI from Istanbul after this incident was sent to the editor. He also shares with readers the information reaches the result of research. But almost out and the information reflected in the Western public opinion appeared in each study were as follows: “Istanbul of stored spaceship at the Archaeological Museum, it is now confirmed that in the former RHP known as Toprakkale found in ordinary excavations carried out in 1975. Here in BC From 830 BC Up to 612 of the Urartu civilization is sprinkled northeast of Lake Van. “After the information given in the form” this unusual object, it is now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum; It is not presented. “he said.

Controversial “Space Module” about making the most comprehensive study of language experts and Bible scholar, ’12. Planet ‘Zecharia Sitchin, author of the book. Sitchin came to Turkey in the early 1990s, ‘Space Module meant the beginning of the names of those who believe that 3000 years. Sitchin, removed from museums’ preservation department, ‘in velvet tray’ that he had made a determination regarding sculpture showing: “The object is estimated to be a stone of volcanic ash has made a porous material. Curves and other relevant details in surprisingly refutes the idea that the product of its crude workmanship. A plaster mold was removed from the plastic like a toy in the museum’s official release? No it does not seem so. ”

‘Space Module came from the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and conflicting opinions about how it’s entered. According to the common opinion known, brought a statue to an antiques dealer and did not fall further advance on the understanding of being a fake. 23 cm long, 9.5 cm high, 8 cm wide, the ‘Space Module 5’s engine. The figurine is taking place as a pilot figure sitting curled legs toward the chest. The clothes worn by the pilots’ resembles the spacesuits worn by astronauts.


Abdullah Kilic / Istanbul



The main take away is that it puts Dr. Pasinli on record as saying the artifact is plaster and not 3000 years old as Sitchin asserted, and that the 3000 year age given was a creation of the magazine articles that debuted the object. That quote is below for emphasis. This is good to have on record because I did try reaching out to Dr. Pasinli, and I believe I did reach him, and he was even gracious enough to reply, but really he only confirmed what he had already stated in the Zaman article and is not especially interested in even discussing the matter, which I understand and respect.

” General Director Dr. Alpay Pasinli, not the work of three thousand years ago, it might have made more than 25 years ago. Recalling that the Western scholars wrote that article, and the article in their public space module introduces three thousand years Pasinli said, “Investigations have determined that this work made from plaster and marble dust as a result.” He said. ”

Beyond this, there is not much to say. Somehow the museum in Turkey acquired a recent plaster artifact masquerading as an ancient artifact. Western magazines embellished a bit and Zechariah Sitchin did some half-good, half-bad research in finding it and putting it in his book as an ancient artifact. In short, it’s a misunderstanding. A misunderstanding that Dr. Pasinli explained in 2003 at least, but that western audiences have yet to acknowledge in any meaningful way.



Further Reading:   translated below