As Above, So Below: Archaeology and Popular Culture

  • Stephanie Halmhofer, Archer CRM

Popular culture reflects public interests, and with the regular appearance of archaeology and archaeologists within all types of popular culture there is no doubting the strong public interest in our field. Popular culture can provide a meeting place for archaeologists and the public. A place where gates are pushed open and ideas and knowledge can be shared. A place where the public can catch a glimpse of the world of archaeology, and where archaeologists can catch a glimpse of how our field is perceived.

This session aims to look at the relationship between archaeology and popular culture. How has archaeology influenced popular culture (e.g. the heavy influence of archaeologist Margaret Murray’s research on H.P. Lovecraft’s story, The Call of Chtulhu)? How has popular culture influenced archaeology (e.g., the role of Indiana Jones in the origin stories of many archaeologists today)? How does the appearance of archaeology in various mediums of popular culture influence public perception of our field (e.g. archaeology within video games like The Sims 4: JungleStardew Valley, and the Tomb Raider franchise)? How can archaeology in popular culture be used to educate the public about our field and the archaeologists within it (e.g., the documentary television show Wild Archaeology)? And what happens when the archaeology being shared with the public is incorrect, misappropriated, and pseudoarchaeological (e.g., television shows like Ancient Aliens and America Unearthed, books like Chariots of the Gods, and comics like Lost City Explorers)?