Archaeology in Fiction: A Series

Treasure room – essential in any temple (The Mummy, 1999)

Archaeological fact and fiction have always had a tumultuous relationship.

Bullwhips, fedoras, girls (preferably hot, PhD optional), temples, tombs. Myths, legends, adventure, treasure.

The majority of people will be fully aware that archaeology is not the rip-roaring Nazi-punching gun-toting adventure that it tends to be portrayed as. It’s a lot more meticulous recording of cold, muddy excavations followed by analysis of artefacts and tentative interpretation of findings, all wrapped up in a big swish of theory. We’ll be the first to hold up our fedoras and say that this doesn’t make for very riveting TV.

We genuinely love a lot of films and books featuring archaeologists (a loose term, hereon used to mean ‘someone who deals with old stuff’) because, let’s face it, they tend to be good fun. We’re talking Lara Croft and Indiana Jones as our flagship fictional archaeologists, but also Evelyn Carnahan (she’s a librarian, take that Bembridge scholars), River Song and Daniel Jackson, to name just a few.

And aren’t they a handsome looking bunch?

The Archaeology in Fiction series will explore some of the archaeology fiction that we come across in our PhD downtime. With the help of Matt Knight over at A Life in Fragments and perhaps some other guest contributors we’re hoping to cover a wide range of mediums, but we will be starting at least with a book that I recently bought during a charity shop fiction spree – Boyd Morrison’s The Noah’s Ark Quest.

Be afraid…

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