Archaeologist Breaks Down 10 Treasure Hunting Scenes In Movies | How Real Is It?

Archaeologist Breaks Down 10 Treasure Hunting Scenes In Movies | How Real Is It?

Archaeology has played a role in scores of iconic Hollywood films, from “The Mummy” to “Titanic.” But what’s a real-life archaeologist’s take on these movies? New York University archaeologist Mariana Castro reacts to 10 scenes featuring the most famous fictional archaeologists and treasure hunters, from Indiana Jones to Lara Croft, and rates them based on their realism.

Find out how realistic Indiana Jones’ adventures are in movies like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Watch Mariana dissect Nicolas Cage’s methodology in “National Treasure,” Angelina Jolie’s field gear in “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” Max von Sydow’s’s Iraq excavation in “The Exorcist,” and Rachel Weisz’s exhumation of the sarcophagus in “The Mummy.” She breaks down the important differences between excavation and looting, does some myth-busting about the pseudoarchaeology depicted in movies like “Stargate,” critiques Matthew McConaughey’s archaeological practices in “Sahara,” and tells us what Disney’s “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” actually gets right about archaeology.

From an expert’s perspective, find out whether archaeologists really use metal detectors, why the military does sometimes get involved in archaeological projects, why alien and space archaeology isn’t a thing, and why actual fieldwork doesn’t look like the shipwreck exploration seen in James Cameron’s “Titanic.” Plus, why booby traps aren’t all that common archaeology finds, and what tricks ancient civilizations actually used to deter looters.

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Archaeologist Breaks Down 10 Treasure Hunting Scenes In Movies | How Real Is It?


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  1. this is late 19th century in the mummy movie, i doubt they had "construction helmets" in archaeology or the workers who build most of Chicago's and New York's skyscrapers at the time. Besides that she's also cute.

  2. The Sahara raising the sarcophagus scene was supposed to be on the Nile. It was a terrible movie because the whole premise was that they were "treasure hunters" instead of a marine archeology agency.

  3. I’d give this review a 1.5. She gave Indiana Jones such a low score because he was a ‘teen’ in that clip? Not realizing who his father is and why he’d know that and the timeframe the movie is placed. Some of these are really interesting but not this one…

  4. 10:45
    But that particular child has a father who is a professor that studies history and grail archaeology and that child you speak of has been trying to get the attention of his father for his whole life. So it is believable that that child would do this.

  5. Given how many Archeologists were inspired by Indiana Jones, I am surprised that she doesn’t know at least one who carries a bull whip. I must assume at least a few try to dress like him because I would.

  6. i LOVE watching these videos of Doctorates/Professionals commenting on thie
    e kind of matters. I'm actually an Accountant, and these videos do help out with research of various fields of study and what needs to really be looked at 😀 G-d of Israel, may He Bless You! 😀

  7. I'm a huge Indiana Jones fan. The reason Indy knew what the object was even as a teenager is because his father was an archeologist. And anytime he wanted to speak to his father, he had to recite a piece of history. I love these movies. It's something I share with my father. I can see that you haven't watched the films, maybe?

  8. "There were much more efficient ways of keeping looters out, like curses" I thought the pyramids were often looted almost faster than they were even finished and be ready to be used.