Sunday, March 4, 2012
Fieldwork and Theory: Indiana Jones meets Charles Darwin
Indiana Jones: Great theories, sir.
Charles Darwin: Comes from careful fieldwork.
Indiana Jones: Always have this feeling to be a good archaeologist, I gotta get out of the lab.
Charles Darwin: But in the end you have to spend most of your time in the lab to analyze the data and construct your theories.
Aside from Darwin being a naturalist and Jones being an archaeologist, they left different discoveries, different legacies. You can run around cracking a whip, collecting specimens, and collecting good stories. But in the end the theories are the greatest goal. Discovering an ark, a phantom symbol of people’s superstitions, doesn’t seem quite as compelling an achievement as divining the origin of species.
Yet it seems to be easier to make a film about a lost ark than creation.
And it seems Indiana Jones was more comfortable immersed in fieldwork than in the library.