Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Multimedia: Decades of Make Believe Volume 51 Number 5, September/October 1998
by Jon Solomon

Since 1948 the world has repeatedly been entertained by cinematic images of archaeologists at work. No popular medium can so forcefully make an impression on people as the Hollywood film, except perhaps for its kid brother television, and no other so thoroughly thrives on ignoring scientific fact in favor of romantic fiction. On the other hand, since no popular medium can compete with the allure of the Hollywood film, real archaeology owes some debt of gratitude to Hollywood for helping to give it a higher profile than almost any other academic discipline. Jon Solomon comments on Boy on a Dolphin (1957), Planet of the Apes (1968), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The English Patient (1997), and other archaeological movies of the last 50 years.

Jon Solomon is professor of classics at the University of Arizona.

© 1998 by the Archaeological Institute of America