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Old 03-04-2008, 11:59 PM   #1
Snakes
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Real Archaeologists' opinions of Indiana Jones

A friend of mine had a archeology professor who hated Indiana Jones because he was (as Chatter Lal put it) "more of a grave robber than an archaeologist."

Does anyone know any archaeologists? Or better yet, is anyone here an archaeologist? What do most archaeologists think on Indiana Jones?
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakes
A friend of mine had a archeology professor who hated Indiana Jones because he was (as Chatter Lal put it) "more of a grave robber than an archaeologist."

Does anyone know any archaeologists? Or better yet, is anyone here an archaeologist? What do most archaeologists think on Indiana Jones?

My archeology/ anthropology professor was the same way.


He also hated people like LegendaryTimes here on the board.



Conspiracy Theorists and the like tend not to get along too well with serious academics.
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Old 03-05-2008, 10:42 AM   #3
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I don't know about archaeologists, but my high school chemistry teacher liked Raiders because Indy underestimates the weight of the gold idol (and has consequences for it). Since gold is one of the heaviest elements, he hated movies where people fling "gold" around like it's made of papier-mache.

I will say, Indiana Jones sparked my interest in archaeology. (I've only helped out on one dig, though.)
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakes
"more of a grave robber than an archaeologist."


Thats what makes Indy interesting to the audience because he is not orthrodox. The films highlight the 'grave robber rather than an archeologist' elemet which makes him exciting and rugged, a good protagonistic charictor; 'robbing' graves of their riches to save them from profit hunters. That is what Indy's life is deticated to.

As for a true archeologists opinion, I'm not the man.
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Old 03-05-2008, 06:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gear guardian
Thats what makes Indy interesting to the audience because he is not orthrodox. The films highlight the 'grave robber rather than an archeologist' elemet which makes him exciting and rugged, a good protagonistic charictor; 'robbing' graves of their riches to save them from profit hunters. That is what Indy's life is deticated to.

I teach history and although it is not archaeology, it is in the same field of social science. I'll tell you that although some Archaeologists might look down on Indy as a "grave robber," I would think that most would be happy that a filmmaker like Spielberg brought the limelight to the field. If it weren't for seeing Raiders as a 4-year old kid, I might not have ever had an interest in history.

I believe films like the Indiana Jones series indirectly help social science fields overall.

And as Gear Guardian said, the grave-robbing element is what made Indy interesting as an Archaeologist. If he were a real archaeologist, the film would be a snooze. Plus, didn't Indy even say that 90% of all archaeology occurs out of the field? Obviously, the series was centered around the other 10% which excites us.

If you think about it, most police officers spend their careers doing boring calls like speeding tickets and false alarms - yet not a single movie exists showing police doing what they do most of the time - which is anything but exciting.

"You're a teacher?" - Mutt

"Part-time." - Indy

I love this quote so much, I can already seeing me posting it in my classroom.
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Old 03-05-2008, 10:32 PM   #6
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is not archeaology just another more educated form of grave robbing?
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:39 PM   #7
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I took a few classes in archaeology/anthopolgy in college(inspired by Indy of course) and Indy only came up a couple of times. The first was on the first day of class when the professor asked what the students think of when they hear the word 'archaeology' and of course someone said Indiana Jones. The professor agreed and said "Yeah I get that alot" The other time was when he told us that he had worked at Petra. He used Last Crusade to give us a point of reference. He said there is nothing inside, in fact it only extends just a few feet if I am not mistaken. One thing I thought was interesting. part of the facade had been damaged by locals thinking that treasure was hidden in the top carving on the center column so they had used rifles to try and shoot it open. No such luck. After he told us that he had worked at Petra he kinda of became my idol. But he was definitely no Indy, more like a Abner I guess
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:46 AM   #8
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When my arch. professors talk about indy they usually have these problems...

-that archaeology is a team sport, going it alone like indy will yeild no success

-when going after the intended artifact he destroys everything in his path that could also be just as anthropologically significant

-archaeology is a very slow methodical and precise process, which is not indy's syle..

-that he is more similar to the older European type artifact collectors and antiquarians rather than an American anthropologist (post franz boas..)

anyway thats a little of what some of my teachers stressed. but for an even better idea of what the academic types think this is pretty entertaining...

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2006/10/10bryan.html

its the article about indy getting denied for tenure at the university
...i think its on this website somewhere and many have probably already seen it but thats a link for it if you haven't...

Last edited by AnthropologyFSU : 03-06-2008 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:40 AM   #9
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Maybe not stuffy old Professors but my experience of archaelogy students all seem to love indy, obviously they know it's mostly going to be dusting down fragments of pots but I reckon it's stuff like Indy the ignites their interest in the subject in the first place.
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Old 03-06-2008, 05:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthropologyFSU
-that archaeology is a team sport, going it alone like indy will yeild no success

-when going after the intended artifact he destroys everything in his path that could also be just as anthropologically significant

-archaeology is a very slow methodical and precise process, which is not indy's syle..

-that he is more similar to the older European type artifact collectors and antiquarians rather than an American anthropologist (post franz boas..)

How interesting....thanks for sharing....
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Old 03-07-2008, 04:57 AM   #11
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Tomb Raider?

I am a grad student of Museum Science/Archaeology, and I agree that characters like Indy made everyone more aware of issues within the Archaeological community (about things like grave robbing), and his stance seems to be against that of your typical tomb raider (i.e., he says "It belongs in a museum", clearly he is not out for profit!). These issues are coming to head now, however, with the recent returning of artifacts from many museums/institutions that were aquired legally (at the time) but have now come under question - those kinds of things are becoming more and more common. So, if you look at it that way, there is no way he should be grouped with the "tomb raider" variety archaeologist.

I am, personally, in favor of Indy and his actions. He is an educator and protector of antiquites. We can only hope that same spirit will live on...
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Old 03-07-2008, 05:22 AM   #12
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The reason Indy doesn't take his time to do things properly is because he doesn't have time
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Old 03-07-2008, 06:03 AM   #13
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well i'm an archaeologist (among other things) and, well, the reason I got into it was probably the inspiration of indy. I do other things now, but I definately intend to go back to it on some level. Indiana Jones is a subject one tries not to bring up around archaeology professors, as his methods usually involve destroying all contextual reference for any artefacts he discovers. Its a commonly held belief that archaeology is all about the artefacts, and it is to an extent, but almost more important is the context in which said artefact is found, as it allows one to determine dating, use, significance of the find. for example, what a gold chalice can tell you on its own is fairly limited, i.e. I am a gold chalice, but if you knew where it was found, how it was being used etc, it'll tell you far more about the society in which it formed a part, which is after all the purpose of archaeology.
So with Indy, i'd like to believe that under less trying circumstances the man has the time to conduct a proper dig, records and all, but it still leaves me wondering what exactly he was up to at start of raiders, what exactly a small golden idol can tell you about a still extant peruvian culture is anyones guess. But still. It doesn't mean I don't wanna be Indiana Jones.
Hell, the man, through inspiration, has almost gotten me killed on far too many occasions!
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Old 03-07-2008, 04:08 PM   #14
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I generally don't ask archaeologists what they think of Indy because that usually starts a rant. Indy is the main reason I want to be an archaeologist.
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Old 03-07-2008, 04:23 PM   #15
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I find it somewhat funny that Indy himself tells his students that archeology is a slow methodical science, with no adventure involved. "We do not follow maps to buried treasure, and X never, ever marks the spot." I once worked for an archaeologist who had no hard feelings against Indy. He himself had Indy like experiences with quicksand and cursed tombs.
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Old 03-07-2008, 05:33 PM   #16
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On the first day of class, my Archaeology teacher explained to us that the only realistic part of Indy is the Warehouse scene at the end of Raiders. He said, "In this class, you need to forget everything that Indiana Jones ever taught you about archaeology".
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremiah Jones
Its a commonly held belief that archaeology is all about the artefacts, and it is to an extent, but almost more important is the context in which said artefact is found, as it allows one to determine dating, use, significance of the find. for example, what a gold chalice can tell you on its own is fairly limited, i.e. I am a gold chalice, but if you knew where it was found, how it was being used etc, it'll tell you far more about the society in which it formed a part, which is after all the purpose of archaeology.

That's true, but Indy seems to know everything about the artifact and it's context before he goes looking for it, in the movies. He knows about the history of the Ark, he's got his Dads grail diary in
LC. In ToD he's just trying to recover some stolen stones for a village.

I think the boring archaeological digs he goes on in between those adventures are left to our imaginations.

As for the Golden Idol, I think that might fall into the fortune and glory part.
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Old 03-08-2008, 05:03 AM   #18
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Whilst I can’t say that I’m an archeologist, that’s my fathers field, I’m actually a paleontology student. Actually, I’m apprenticing a paleontologist from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History this year and will be doing field work in the badlands of Montana for possibly up to an entire year. I’m amazingly nervous, it’s quite a commitment. I can only imagine the heat, but I’m utterly ecstatic as well. After all, it’s certainly something unique, and I’ve now got a story to tell. Working behind a cubical has never been my style. I don’t want happiness, I demand euphoria! So I’m perusing my dream, as much work as it may take, and hopefully things will work out.

But much of Paleontology could be applied to Archeology. For my perspective, as well as a realistic view, Indiana Jones is naturally highly exaggerated. That much is common sense. It’s archeology meets Hollywood. If you enter the field expecting to avoid deadly natives, be chased by gigantic spherical boulders, and be caught in a spiked death trap…you’ve got delusions of grandeur. It’s not exactly a pulse pounding action adventure career choice. Very much of it is spent reading or theorizing. If you’re lucky enough to be on a dig or expedition, let alone leading it, you’ll know it’s an incredibly slow and rhythmic process that revolves around paying attention to even the smallest of details. OCD goes hand-in-hand with archeology. Hah. However, I would say it’s very rewarding, obviously worldly and cultured, that is if you’re talented enough or lucky enough to have funded travel, and naturally unique. You potentially have the ability to see things most people only see in dreams. Perhaps you’ll even be fortunate enough to discover something entirely new to contemporary society and science. Behind the superficial eye candy of the supernatural plot devices, archetypical Nazi and power-hungry villains, and pulse pounding fist fights…Indiana Jones has roots deeply imbedded in real myth, folklore, and archeology. I find the film caught the spirit of what it takes to be an Archeologist. There is a type of romance behind the field that’s unlike any other. After all, who really wants to work behind a desk all their life?

So it has it's adventure, but not in the Indiana Jones sense of the word. After all, I consider adventure to be traveling and seeing the world and it's wonders.

Last edited by MaxPhactor23 : 03-08-2008 at 05:10 AM.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:13 AM   #19
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I mean don't get me wrong, I love Indy, its just very far from actual archaeology. Well, standard every day archaeology, it is possible to get into Indiana Jones type situations if one tries hard enough, though they usually don't involve Nazis anymore.
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:31 AM   #20
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Indy needs to be left in the movies

For the achaeologists who don't like Indy should lighten up it's just a fictional character it doesn't mean that everybody thinks that archaeologists is Indiana Jones. That's like saying that all 1950s greasers were nice and cool at the same time because the Fonz was like that, No! I myself know that archaeology takes time and effort and sometimes the archaeologist will not find what they are looking for. I may not go into the field but I remember last year in my Bible Study class we watched a bunch of tapes of Archaeologists looking up Biblical artifacts or locations and most of the time its either misleading or they got their facts wrong. We even talked about the Ark of the Covenant and how in real life it hasn't been traced.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:07 PM   #21
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The father of a friend of mine is an archeologist and he likes the movies. Apart from the action, he always has to shake his head about how Indy often manages to tear the whole sites apart. Even if unvoluntarily
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:52 PM   #22
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So, does this mean that I shouldn't wear my Indiana Jones costume to my first Arch lecture when the Spring Quarter arrives?
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:42 PM   #23
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Hey everybody! New to the thread here, but not to Indy. I thought this would be a great topic for my first post. I am a Geology/Archaeology major. And it seems a lot of you that are in the field have had Proffs that have semi negative things to say about Indy. I have had the reverse experience. My Proff for Archaeology always starts his classes with the Indy theme music, and was very positive about the attention that the movies brought to the field. I tend to agree that the movies have brought a lot of interest to the field in general. I find the influence of the movies to be one of the leading reasons I became interested in the field.
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:47 PM   #24
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Real Archy here.

He's a film character. I don't take it too seriously.

I hear it all the time: "Oh, so you're like Indiana Jones?"

"No, I'm not. I'm not that good looking and I work a lot harder and it's tedious work sometimes." (at least 3 months a year that is, that's the time I spend in the field)

Anything that brings attention to the cause is good in my eyes.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:11 PM   #25
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Why not be like Indy!!!

Many Archaeologist are just boring professors who hate the fact that this movie brought action into the archaelogical world. These professors need to know that X sometimes does mark the spot.
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