ANA Jones may provide great entertainment but he's an ethical nightmare as an archaeologist, the head of the World Archaeological Congress said Friday.
Professor Claire Smith from Australia's Newcastle University said the fourth installment in the adventure series, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", would spur interest in archaeology around the globe.
But she said if the character played by Hollywood veteran Harrison Ford was a real archaeologist, his methods would face stern criticism from colleagues.
"In pursuit of 'fortune and glory' Jones ignores international treaties, treats human remains as weapons, and destroys archaeological sites in a bid to escape from potential entombment, and other worrisome possibilities," Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"Archaeologists are concerned with preserving the past, not making a profit from it, and sometimes Jones seems more finely tuned to the commercial value of an artefact than the information it can give us about past peoples.
"This impression is reinforced by occasional references to him as a grave robber," she added.
Smith said the Indiana Jones films contained an imperialist assumption that artefacts in far-flung parts of the world needed "protection" supplied by the west. "The native people who hinder Jones in Crystal Skull are, in fact, descendants of the people who made the artefacts that Jones seeks and the contemporary cultural custodians of the site," she said. However, Smith noted that there were benefits from the Stephen Spielberg-directed films.
"The great value of Indiana Jones for the archaeological community is that he makes a pedantic and exacting science appear exciting," she said.
Smith also conceded that the hair-raising adventures experienced by Jones were not entirely the stuff of fiction.
"One of my colleagues was held at gunpoint while his four-wheel drive was used for a bank robbery in New Guinea," she said. - Khaleej Times
"Another had his life threatened while recording graffiti in cells used to house political activists in Argentina.
"Others have needed armed guards while they excavated mass graves near Bosnian villages that still housed the murderers."