This week, the National Geographic Museum in Washington DC opens an exhibition titled "Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology" that includes movie props from the films along with actual ancient objects and historical documents from the Penn Museum and National Geographic Society.
The artifacts include the world's oldest map (a clay tablet) and clay pots related to the Nazca Lines. Of course the Ark of the Covenant on display is a fake because the real one is hidden in some vast government warehouse.
“These films introduced so many people to archaeology,” says National Geographic archaeological fellow Fredrik Hiebert. “We can document their impact statistically, based on the number of archaeology students before and after the first film. Some of the best archaeologists in the world today say Indiana Jones was what sparked their initial interest. That’s a great legacy for George Lucas—and for the relationship between popular media and science.”
"How Indiana Jones Actually Changed Archaeology" (National Geographic)
Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology: The Exhibition
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