Is Indiana Jones Bad for Archaeology – No

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"Is Indiana Jones Bad for Archaeology - No"
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Indiana Jones is cool. I remember when the first film came out, I was 11. I was having the "proverbial" trouble at home and the only thing that seemed to help me escape was writing and movies. When I saw Raiders of the Lost Arch' I wasn't thinking about my family, what my major might be in 7ish years or if he was good for archaeology or not. I was taken into the film and completely entertained. For two hours I was on an adventure, flying around the world, and fighting bad guys. Even I knew it wasn't real and that I had to come back to my life.

One of the most frequently repeated phrases in the entire series was, "That belongs in a museum!" At the very least they portrayed a character in a fantasy world that was trying to keep items off the black market or to be used for personal means and than restored and displayed for the public. He went after the Arch of the Convanent because Hitler was seeking it. Immediately he is the Hero icon in the film, going on a quest to save the day. Instead our government, fictionally, confiscates it.

Archaeology started as the spoils of war, tomb raiding, and Colonialism; robbing other cultures of their Holy and important artifacts. The British Museum is still dealing with the repatriation of many of the items they house and some of the items they refuse to let go of. Archaeology is by no means without blood on it's hands as a profession in the past. In the world today there are still many issues surrounding artifacts that are on display in "reputable" institutions. There is even the debate about weather human remains should be allowed to be studied at all. We do not allow Pearl Harbor to touched by scuba divers as it is a memorial and a burial site for our honored dead.

The representation of the Indiana Jones character did nothing to harm archaeology, it has done more to harm itself. If anything the film made children more aware of anthropology. The subject became more popular in our school systems because of it. Once you do investigation of a real subject the glamour is replaced with the facts. I'd venture to say that even at 11 I was aware that the film was fiction. The movies are nothing more than a fun form of entertainment.

Ok, I did get my BA in Anthropology, but I never carry my whip outside of the house.

More about this author: Hanna Kathleen McDeavitt

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