berangere: (yajiri)
[personal profile] berangere posting in [community profile] archaeology
We've got two prompts answered so far in our 「Frequently-Or-Not-So-Frequently-Asked-Questions about Archaeology」 ! Let's go on today with this one :

prompt by [personal profile] snowynight

What's your favourite and least favourite depiction of archaeology in fiction?

Since this one is asking a more personal point of view comparing to the other prompts, I suggest everybody answers to the question in the comments (or in a new post if you prefer so).

As far as I'm concerned, I realized with this prompt that I do not have read so much books or seen so much films dealing with archaeology. I first want to make clear that even if I am an archaeologist, I do not loathe films that give a romantico-adventurous view of archaeology : they're often entertaining, and I do not expect Hollywood to give an true image of archaeology. Let's be honest : who would pay to see the *real* life of an archaeologist on screen ?

Of course, when you say "archaeology in films", you immediately think about Indiana Jones. I am a great fan of those films I have seen an incalculable number of times since childhood, but, if you watch carefully, the only one depicting archaeology is the Raiders of the Lost Ark, with the excavations in Egypt. The others may be about an archaeologist, but they are not about archaeology.

I think my favourite depiction of archaeology in fiction may be in "Murder in Mesopotamia" by Agatha Christie. First, because I am a big fan of Agatha Christie, and then, because archaeology in the 30's HAVE a romantico-adventurous feeling, it is not even necessary to include any fantastic element. Of course, archaeology has known many revolutions from this time and as a scientific, I *prefer* the way we do archaeology now BUT I look at those time not with disgust or alarm, but with a feeling close to nostalgia. I am glad I practice archaeology the way we do now, but I think I would have loved doing archaeology in the 30s either.
The trick in this book may be a little odd, but the background is just great. Of course, the quite realistic depiction of archaeology there can be explained by the fact archaeology is not the point of the book, but just the background : you do not need walking mummies to entertain your readers if you already have a murder and Poirot to solve it.

And the least favourite one... in fact I am quite happy each time I spot an archaeologist in fiction, may his work be realistic or not, may he be a Good of a Villain, so I am not sure I really have a "least favourite" one.
If I had to choose I would say archaeology in Star Trek. It seems archaeologists are just there to create catastrophes by disturbing things that have been buried for centuries *for a good reason*, or to become mad because they've been left alone to study an ancient civilization on a distant planet during years. But Star Trek may have spotted it was unfair for us to *always* have the bad role, and they created Jean-Luc Picard, so we can't really keep a grudge against them.

Here is a list of the fiction works I recall having an archaeological component :
- Doctor Who (Cybermen awakening, Pyramids of Mars... and the current River Song is supposed to be an archaeologist too ! And Bernice was one too.)
- Star Trek
- Star Gate
- Indiana Jones
- the Mummy
- Murder in Mesopotamia
- the Amelia Peabody series
- Benjamin Gates

I'm afraid that's all... I am looking forward reading the answers of the members of this community (and of occasional readers who may come here during the Three Weeks for Dreamwidth project).
Since we can't add tags to our posts in this community, I'll advertise this thread in my follow friday article and hope some people will drop a line in the comments !
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