Is Indiana Jones bad for archaeology? – No

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"Is Indiana Jones bad for archaeology? - No"
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A question appeared in cyberspace asking whether or not fantasy is unhealthy for children. This controversy is more than a little similar. Indiana Jones was a professor who became obsessed with a particular relic - at least that is how it all began. It is pure fantasy, but is as delightful as can be. This is a bit like saying is Batman bad for policemen.

If one knows anything at all about archaeology, he knows that it is tedious work that often produces minimal results, if any. Nevertheless, archaeologists nearly go ballistic when they actually do find something.

There is a large group of both professional and amateur archaeologists in the United States and across the globe who are working to prove Biblical historical accuracy. Some of them are in Glen Rose, Texas now digging to verify that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time. They work in the hot sun for long hours sometimes with tools no larger than a teaspoon. Until there is a "find", there is nothing very dramatic about it. Even so, some of the people in the group have mentioned that the Indiana Jones movies have drawn attention to their work. Their writings are finding more opportunities for publishing and funding for digs is a little easier to come by.

There is occasionally danger in archaeology, but to a much lesser degree than Dr. Jones meets up with. One small example is the findings concerning what could possibly be Noah's Ark. Mid-East governments do not enjoy hoardes of curiosity seekers around possible historical sites in their lands. They fear thefts and destruction, not to mention corruption and territorialism run rampant. There is often reason for concern. Think of how the pyramids were robbed in years past. The mummies themselves were taken, along with other relics and valuables.

"National Treasure" was a movie of the same genre, and I've not heard anyone question whether or not it damages the quest for knowledge and documents from America's young history.

Indiana Jones is a wonderful character who appeals to young and old alike. The first one came out when my children were young. They loved it, and now their children love it, as well as numbers two and three. (We haven't seen the new one yet.) It has peaked our interest in real archaeoligical finds, and we're watching the Discovery Channel and the History Channel more.

Most people can separate fact from fiction, even when there is an element of truth in the fiction. Isn't that essentially what fiction and fantasy are - just enough believability to pique your curiosity and fascination?

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