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Read This: Real archaeologists think Indiana Jones is just a low-down, dirty tomb raider

It’s been pretty well established that Indiana Jones is a shitty archeologist (he couldn’t even get tenure from Marshall College). What makes journalist Erik Vance’s feature “Why Archeologists Hate Indiana Jones” special is the genuine–albeit well-founded–ire actual archeologists have for the fictional adventurer and his constant betrayal of a modern archeologist’s basic code of ethics. Take Tulane archeologist Marcello Canuto, for example, who bemoans Indy’s ignorance of the wonders of the temple in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark:

“[The temple builders] are using these amazing mechanisms of engineering and all he wants to do is steal the stupid gold statue.”

A real archeologist, Vance writes, would let the Nazis have the statue and “spend the next 10 years studying the temple’s booby traps.”


Another mark against Dr. Jones is that he operates without a proper legal authorization to exhume artifacts for “museums” that are usually never named and almost certainly not in the relics’ countries of origin.

“True, the Nazis were trying to find the Ark of the Covenant so they could destroy the world” Canuto says, “But methodologically and legally they were in the right.”


Looting is a serious problem at archeological sites worldwide (though usually carried out by the poor and desperate, not wealthy globetrotters), and that’s really what Indiana Jones is, Vance argues: just another looter with a bullwhip.

Read the whole piece at Last Word On Nothing.


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