Raiders of the lost art abhorred
Indiana Jones image rankles archeologists
The Indiana Jones movies represent the dark side of archeology’s past and obscures the high stakes at play when discoveries involve modern communities, say Canadian academics involved in an international project to set the moral guidelines for digging up the past.
While the high octane quest for the Crystal Skull in the latest Harrison Ford film may make for a gripping yarn, modern archeologists are likely to tread carefully before they begin to put shovel to layers of history.
“Indiana Jones is a caricature of the past, but it sells at the box office. The public gets fed this racy old set of ideas and that concerns me,” said Brian Noble, social anthropology professor at Dalhousie University and part of the $2.5-million, seven-year project. “The public is not really aware of the stakes in this for the local communities.”
Noble is a co-investigator with a project that aims to explore ownership issues around the discovery of ancient artifacts, the use of traditional knowledge and the mass production of ancient images.
Simon Fraser University professor George Nicholas said the Indiana Jones movies depict a reckless side of archeology that was prevalent as late as the 1920s and 30s.