More on Indiana Jones and Treasure Hunting

“Material World”: has a nice write up of two recent blog posts critical of presenting Indiana Jones as an archaeologist: one at Numistmatics And Archaeology called “That Belongs In A Museum”: and the less-subtly entitled “Indiana Jones Is A Plunderer”:

I’m not too sure what to say about this, except that I’d gladly trade the Archis Indiana Jones for Jared Diamond, the sociocultural bete noir.


Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at

3 thoughts on “More on Indiana Jones and Treasure Hunting

  1. You know, when I went back and watched “Raiders” in anticipation of the new movie, it was quite clear to me that Indy is *supposed* to be seen as a crap archaeologist. In the first classroom scene, Marcus barely has patience for Indy’s stories of “adventure” and remarks sarcastically that he’s sure Indy’s collection was in full accordance with the law. The Federal agents who tell him about the Nazis are dismissive of his work, unsure what exactly to call him. Belloch isn’t too far off the mark when he says there’s little difference between him and Indy — both are “fallen on hard times”. And so on — the contrast between Indy as treasure hunter/tomb raider and Indy as professor is clear from the beginning.

    And here’s the thing — it’s the dude in the jacket and tie in front of his classroom talking about neolithic barrows or whatever, sans hat, sans adventure, that the young ladies all swoon over.

  2. Ah that’s fascinating — I should rewatch _Raiders_. Yes I can see spinning him as someone who really _is_ washed up — comes from a good school, promising student, screw up w/his advisor’s daughter, ends up as an adjunct somewhere, really want to get back Out There and find stuff. Perhaps as the popularity of the movie increased we’ve re-edited him in our imagination to someone who is respectable.

  3. I think the movies may have whitewashed him a bit as they moved to 2 and 3, too — I mean, he finds the Holy Grail, that’s not for grave robbers!

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