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Archaeologists cringe at Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones manages to retrieve the trinket he was after, in the opening moments of Raiders of the Lost Ark. He pretty much wrecked everything else in the ancient South American temple where the little gold idol had rested for millennia.

world Updated: May 17, 2008 02:07 IST

Indiana Jones managed to retrieve the trinket he was after in the opening moments of Raiders of the Lost Ark. He pretty much wrecked everything else in the ancient South American temple where the little gold idol had rested for millennia. Though he preaches research and good science in the classroom, the world’s most famous archaeologist often is an acquisitive tomb raider in the field with a scorched-earth policy about what he leaves behind. While actual archaeologists like the guy and his movies, they wouldn’t necessarily want to work alongside him on a dig.

Indy’s bull-in-a-china-shop approach to archaeology will be on display again May 22 with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in which he’s sure to rain destruction down on more historic sites and priceless artifacts.

Real experts in antiquities acknowledge that the movies are pure fiction that present archaeology as blockbuster adventure, yet they cannot help but cringe at the way Indy manhandles the ancient world. “There are codes of ethics in archaeology, and I don’t think he would be a member. Not in good standing, anyway,” said Mark Rose, online editorial director for the Archaeological Institute of America.

“It wouldn’t be quite as much fun if you followed protocol, I think,” said Karen Allen, who is reprising her Raiders role as Indy’s old flame Marion Ravenwood. Crystal Skull reunites Allen with Harrison Ford as Indy, director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas.