From the moment Indiana Jones struck a golden idol and chased after a boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark more than 40 years ago, the legendary adventurer has become a go-to for archaeologists the world over. On the other hand, Indiana (played by Harrison Ford) drew audiences to the magic archaeologist; On the other hand, his methods are shocking and misleading about the field.
With the fifth (and possibly final) movie, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” set to premiere this Friday (June 30), what do real-life archaeologists think of the fictional archaeologist’s legacy?
Many archaeologists were quick to say that they found Indy terrible.
“[What] It’s not archeology – it’s looting – and if people get drawn into archeology because they want to do it, they’ll be disappointed.” Ann Beburna professor of anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington, told Live Science in an email.
In “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, Indiana prevents the Nazis from obtaining the Bible Ark of the Covenantbut the series leaves a World War II enemy behind in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” as Indiana travels to India to retrieve the legendary Stones – a journey that brings him closer to a cult that practices dark magic and human sacrifice.
Obviously, Indiana Jones’ methods—which often involve the use of a whip and a gun—are not in the book, but “the more serious issue is that he is a white man alienating, brutalizing and condoning locals and indigenous peoples and stealing their cultural heritage,” Beeburn said.
Related: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny: Everything we know about the latest adventures of our favorite archaeologist
Bayburn wasn’t the only archaeologist to criticize the depiction. “I find that Indiana Jones has led many to believe that archeology is just treasure hunting focused on objects and not a reconstruction of past human ways of life,” Laurie Mirov, director of the Public Archeology Facility at Binghamton University, State University of New York, told Live Science in an email. “One of the first things I stress when talking about the discipline with non-archaeologists is that artifacts are the means to the end, not the end.”
Indeed, “While Indy’s motivation is ‘wealth and glory,’ ours is the study of past cultures,” Mirov said.
However, some scientists have noted gains. For example, the “Indiana Jones” movies have brought a great deal of interest to this field, which in turn has led people to find out what archeology really is.
In popular culture, archeology is almost synonymous with Indiana Jones and [is] its strongest brand asset,” Cornelius Holtorf, professor of cultural sciences at Linnaeus University in Sweden, told Live Science in an email. Over the years, the Indiana Jones character [has] He stimulated many young people to study archeology.
Even if the films didn’t motivate all fans to become an archaeologist, Holtorf added, “Indy also sparked interest in archeology in many citizens and may have led them to visit archaeological sites and museums or watch TV documentaries about archeology.”
But discussing Indy always comes with caveats. When speaking to freshmen or members of the general public, “I try to stress that what is depicted in films is not real artifacts,” Erin MeirAn archeology professor at Bar-Ilan University in Israel told Live Science in an email. However, “I also stress how important and important the film series is to creating strong public interest and fascination in archeology,” he added.
The ultimate adventure
With “Dial of Destiny” likely to be Ford’s last film for “Indiana Jones,” what would archaeologists like to see in the movie? What are the things they would like Indiana Jones to say or do in what might be his final adventure?
“I want to depict archaeological methods more accurately, even if it’s just a brief glimpse,” Mirov said, adding that the film could show Indiana Jones or another archaeologist taking notes or photos or recording measurements.
Louise HitchcockShe, a professor of archeology at the University of Melbourne in Australia, said she “would be glad to see Indy or someone else in the film commenting on the issues raised in previous films about excavation malpractices, sexism and colonialism”.
“Maybe he’s talking to people from the community he lives in, and showing him a manuscript of his research-in-progress,” Mirov added. “Even if he talks at some point that what he’s doing isn’t standard practice, it could go a long way.”