Category Archives: archaeology

Four on the Floor #13: Fake Archaeologists I Dig

The Situation: You lucky duck!  You’ve learned of some long forgotten and buried treasure–maybe it was a story handed down through your family; or maybe you found an old map in a book you bought at a used book shop in Europe; or it could just be that you think there’s some truth in a crazy old myth or folktale.  Whatever the reason, you really shouldn’t go out looking for this thing on your own.  You will need an expert.  A professional.  Someone who’s been trained at excavating and retrieving artifacts.  Dammit, you need an archaeologist.

The Criteria: Personally, I’d go for a university-trained archaeologist, as opposed to a money-hungry treasure hunter.  You really can’t trust treasure hunters.  It would probably be a good idea to find someone who can handle themselves in foreign countries–whether it’s speaking the local dialect or being able to take on a bar full of drunk locals.

1. Indiana Jones

Yeah, let’s be honest, he’s the guy.  You need a detective, you go to Sherlock Holmes.  You need an archaeologist, you better find Dr. Henry Jones, Jr.  He’s smart, tough, and a snappy dresser.  It also doesn’t hurt that he speaks every language known to man and shows up ready to go with a pistol and a whip.

2. Dr. Daniel Jackson

Okay, I know what you’re saying: “He’s just an egyptologist.”  True, in the original Stargate film, it was established that Dr. Jackson is an egyptologist, but in the subsequent TV series, Daniel displayed enough knowledge about ancient civilizations to qualify in my book.

3. Flynn Carsen

Carsen has 22 academic degrees, which earned him the prestigious job as Librarian–the guardian of treasures as diverse as Excalibur, the Spear of Destiny, and the Holy Grail.  His role also requires him to go out into the world and recover numerous important relics.  Carsen might not be as rugged as Indy, but he’s just as smart and driven.

4. Annja Creed

Who says the boys get to have all of the fun?  A trained archaeologist, Annja uses her role as co-host of Chasing History’s Monsters to finance her travels as she works on her own research.  Although she’s an admitted skeptic, Annja frequently finds herself coming face-to-face with mystical artifacts across the globe.  She’s also the heir of Joan of Arc’s magical broadsword…which, y’know, can come in handy.

Throw Me the Whip!

The first trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is available online.

I find it interesting that a lot of the heroes from my youth are staging a comeback: Rambo, John McClane, and now Indy. From what I can see, it seems like they managed to capture a lot of the free-wheeling fun of the originals. I’m just glad Lucas decided to acknowledge that Harrison Ford’s gotten on in years by setting it roughly 20 years after Last Crusade. Good job, George….might almost make me forget Jar-Jar.

Anyway, it opens on May 22 and I’ll probably be there opening night.

Indiana Jane

I remember, back in the day, being rather excited that they were making a movie based on the Tomb Raider games. I had never played them, but knew the basics: good-looking treasure hunter running around exploring tombs and shooting things. I figured it was going to be Indiana Jones with a dame. Of course, about half-way through the movie I realized how wrong I was. It was awful. Weird time-travel shit and Jon Voight’s ghost. Angelina Jolie and her twin pistols (oh grow up…you know what I mean!) notwithstanding, Tomb Raider was two hours of my life I would honestly like back.

That brings me to Rogue Angel–a new series of action/adventure books starring archaeologist Annja Creed. These books, written by Alex Archer (a pseudonym for a couple of blokes), follow Annja’s adventures as she travels the globe, hunting for priceless (and potentially dangerous) artifacts. To amp up the weird, Annja also happens to have become the heir of Joan of Arc’s sword–a mysterious weapon which only she can wield. Along with the sword, Annja inherits Joan’s mentor, a 500 year old cad named Roux (and Roux’s equally long-lived nemesis/apprentice, Braden).


With the exception of the first book, Destiny (which tells the story of how Annja gets Joan’s sword), the other books are all stand-alone adventures, ranging from China to New Mexico to Africa. I’ll be the first one to admit that they’re formulaic (which explains how they can publish 2 or 3 books a year): a mysterious treasure or artifact is discovered, Annja somehow gets roped into finding the dingus, a nefarious third party wants the dingus, Annja has to face an army of heavily-armed goons to protect the dingus. Formulaic? Sure. Fun? Hell yeah! I can’t remember the last time I’ve read anything with this many car chases, helicopter chases, or speedboat chases, not to mention this many AK-47s, M16s, and M9s.

Pure, unadulterated fun. ‘Nuff said.