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  • Lizzie

For the Love of Indy

Indiana Jones / CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

Thirty-two years after Raiders of the Lost Ark first hit the theaters, a seven-year-old girl fell in love with Indiana Jones and archaeology for the first time.

That little girl is from Washington State and even though she only knew the world of her family’s apartment building, there was a protagonist onscreen who showed her the possibilities of archaeology adventure in both real and fictional distant lands.

The witty hero named “Indiana”explored these worlds, and he sparked her dream of being an archaeologist. The girl was one of many people across different generations who would find a love for ancient history and adventure, leading to a deeper interest in the non-fictional world. As you may have guessed, I am that girl, and my name is Lizzie. Thanks to the impression made by Indiana Jones, I’m now chasing archaeology as my field of study.

It's all in the thrill of the hunt

Maybe archaeologists haven’t found the Sankara stones of Shiva, but they have found the Rosetta Stone to decipher the Ancient Egyptians’ hieroglyphs. They haven’t found the Ark of the Covenant, but they’ve unearthed the Dead Sea Scrolls and the mask of Tutankhamun.

To me, those archaeological discoveries were and are the ultimate goal—to become famous by uncovering a hidden mystery of our world. I read about King Tut and dreamt of surpassing Howard Carter by finding Cleopatra. I learned about the lost Athena Parthenos statue and yearned to be the one to locate it again. And, yes, I longed to be just like Dr. Jones to find the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.

And whilst real life archaeologists aren’t usually the whip-cracking, fist-fighting type, they certainly share Indiana’s passion for uncovering and preserving the past. His adventures have inspired so many since that movie, be they everyday film enthusiasts or aspiring archaeologists like me. Many of us have found an interest in archaeology and a love for exploration and history.

“That belongs in a museum!”

Above all, Indiana Jones is relatable and (mostly) responsible. He pursues archaeology not because he was forced into it, but because he aims to bring artifacts back into the public realm. He appeals to those who love danger and daring adventure, yet also those who are book smart and love his academic side. He’ll do anything to ensure history is protected from those who would misuse it. He wants to preserve archaeological artifacts for the enjoyment of those who love the field like he does, and that love has always been infectious.

I believe it when Indy says, “That belongs in a museum!”

A childhood passion becomes a field of study

Me collecting as many rocks as my arms could hold

Indiana Jones was one of the first to introduce me to what I loved, but he certainly wasn’t the only one.

I had several other encounters with ancient history and archaeology that helped me build up my interest. I grew up reading books of myths and gods that fascinated me, and my parents took me to museums every chance they could. As I learned about these old civilizations and the ways they explained the world, I wanted to share those stories with everyone. I loved reading about their beliefs and then being able to see the artifacts that proved these cultures had once existed.

I also found a love for adventure through my grandparents, going on rock hunts on their land in Arizona, and hoping—just maybe—an arrowhead would be scattered in the quartz. My rock and seashell collection was bigger than the shoeboxes my mom gave me to hold them, and yet I couldn’t keep myself from digging in the sand on every beach trip for more treasures.

And when I was finally able to meet some real life Indys, the archaeologists and professors I’m so grateful to know now, I discovered how truly possible it was for me to make my childhood dreams my future reality. For the first time in my life, I was given real advice and support on pursuing an archaeology career instead of being told to pick something else. As I enter senior year of high school in 2023, I’m looking for colleges where I can major in archaeology (my dream school is University of Chicago, where Indiana Jones went!). Maybe, just maybe I can make Indy proud!

So, if you’re wondering what I’ll be doing on June 30, 2023, I’ll be the first in line at the theaters to see Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. I may have not been alive for Indiana’s first whip crack in 1981, but I’ll be there for the premiere of this new Indiana Jones adventure. Who knows? Maybe in the audience there will be another kid who is as enthralled and mesmerized by the love and adventure of archaeology. All I know is that I hope they pursue their dreams, just like I am.

If you or someone you knows wants to experience the thrill of adventure on an archaeology dig, check out the digs on Ancient Odysseys. Dig at archaeological sites and dig for artifacts are available in many locations and for many ages. There's something for everyone and there's no experience needed.


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