Saturday, June 14, 2008

Disrespecting Indiana Jones

A minor blogstorm has errupted over the appointment of Harrison Ford to the Board of Directors of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). In this video a well-known scholar and advocate against the illicit trade in antiquities, Oscar Muscarella, expresses his opinion that Indiana Jones is not an archaeologist but rather a "plunderer."

What do you think?

The blogstorm began as a reaction to the AIA press release. Early reactions can be found in Numismatics and Archaeology and in Safe Corner. Both posts have many comments, largely agreeing with Muscarella in condemning Indy as a plunderer.

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At 4:59 AM , Blogger george.w said...

I think a movie showing archeology as it is actually performed would be unlikely to bring about much public interest in preserving the past. Jones has put their profession in the public consciousness so they have a chance to say "of course, he's a movie character. In real life, what we do is..."

And the female student winked at him, not the other way around. I think the real-life archaeologist in the clip has the incident confused with a certain interaction between Han Solo and Greedo.

At 7:21 AM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

I imagine that there are others on the board of the AIA who are not archaeologists and do no great service to archaeology in their professional life. It is great to know that Harrison Ford has taken a genuine interest in the subject.

At 9:00 AM , Blogger Nathan T. Elkins said...

Hi Don,

Thanks for your comment and reference to my blog. Just to be clear, I didn't condemn Ford's appointment to the AIA board in my initial or subsequent posts. I think the popular actor of Indiana Jones fame can do a lot for archaeology and for the AIA. In my second posting on Numismatics and Archaeology (cross posted on SAFECORNER), I discuss the legitimacy of Muscarella's concerns, but also highlight the the potential benefits of Mr. Ford's appointment. I look forward to seeing how the AIA and Ford will work together.

Nice blog, btw.

All best,

At 9:57 AM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

The consensus of the SAFECORNER poll seems to be that Indy is a plunderer but Harrison Ford can do good for AIA.

At 9:15 PM , Blogger on-the-rocks said...

Shall we add to that "Laura Croft - Grave Robber"?

Maybe in the next generation of Indiana Jones movies, they will be tracking down plunderers and their clients to repatriate previously plundered items.


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