How Indiana Jones Actually Changed Archaeology

An exciting new exhibit is open at the National Geographic Museum. Yes, believe it or not, the movie screen legend, Indiana Jones, is hanging out at a museum...

An exciting new exhibit is open at the National Geographic Museum. Yes, believe it or not, the movie screen legend, Indiana Jones, is hanging out at a museum in the nation’s capitol. “Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology” will be at the museum until January 3, 2016.

Although the real Ark of the Covenant has never been found, the gilded movie prop of the same name is on display. Other treasures include the world’s oldest map and pieces of 5,000-year-old jewelry. Lucas Films Ltd., the Penn Museum, and the National Geographic Society have collaborated to bring the public a dazzling display of ancient artifacts both real and imagined.

The character of Indiana Jones was inspired not only by movie heroes of the Great Depression era, but also by real archaeologists.

The popularity of the four Indiana Jones movies have helped make archaeology relatable and relevant to the public, and actually caused a spike in archaeology courses and careers. Exhibit curator, Fred Heibert, states, “Some of the best archaeologists in the world today say Indiana Jones was what sparked their initial interest.”

And most important perhaps, Heibert goes on to say, “I hope this exhibit will put a spotlight on cultural heritage, looting, and loss of heritage – a worldwide phenomenon going on now in Iraq and Syria and Peru and Egypt.”

If you are looking for grand adventure as Hollywood melds with ancient history, then pack up the kids and head to Washington, D.C. before this National Geographic exhibit leaves.

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1 comment

  1. Ishmel Reply

    I’m not sure if I like their initial scale of deistospm to democracy. The only thing democracy means is majority rule. 51% voting to enslave 49% is perfectly democratic, but it’s also despotic. A better scale would be deistospm to freedom. Still, I liked the old newsreel look of the thing.

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