Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Original Tomb Raider

In the current generation we have seen a radical change in the image of archaeologists.  Formerly they were seen as tweedy intellectuals.  Probably British.  Decidedly bookish. 

Ah, but now the image of archeology is this:

Or to get more than a little weirder, this:

OoooKayyy then.  So somewhere along the line the popular image of what archaeologists do changed significantly.  No longer sitting in their tents sipping tea while the fellahs sweated and chanted in the trenches; now we have swashbuckling bravos who just charge on in and grab stuff. 

So where did this "tomb raider" image start out?

I found the answer by climbing down cramped, dusty, exceedingly warm passages that led to the claustrophobic center of the Second Great Pyramid of Giza.  And in the burial chamber the only things to be seen were an empty sarcophagus (raided in antiquity by folks who bore scant resemblance to either Harrison or Angelina).....and this:

Translated this says: "Discovered by S. Belzoni".

And if you have never heard of this remarkable fellow-perhaps the template for Indiana Jones-come back tomorrow, as The Great Belzoni week continues....

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