I Blame Indiana Jones by Cassiel Knight

First, the winner of the drawing from last Wednesday for a copy of Blood on the Moon, is Gina Fluharty! Gina, email me at cassielknight47@gmail.com and let me know what format you’d like.

On to this week’s post.

I blame Indiana Jones.

You see, from the moment Indiana Jones came to life on the big screen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, I’ve been hooked on all things archeological. And when Lara Croft played by the uber awesome (to me) Angelina Jolie, followed years later, I was a goner.

Since then, while I’ve always loved history and mythology, Indiana Jones introduced me to archeology but not the profession but more the seedier side – tomb raiding or grave robbery as it’s also been called.

You see, what Indiana did, even when he sold the pieces to the museum, was and is grave robbing. Now, given his love of history, he did it with the best intentions, however, it was still robbery.

But, that’s not the romance of tomb raiding and tomb raiding does have a romance attached to it. It’s action, adventure, mystery, thrills and chills combined to find some fantastic treasures. That’s what so many are attracted to and while Indiana Jones was so popular. Well, that and Harrison Ford as Indiana. <grin>

Tomb raiding is an ancient profession. Some experts believe it started in force from about the 16th century and forward. We are talking at minimum from about 1501! That’s a long time ago. But the stories go that tomb raiding goes back even farther. No one knows for sure.

According to SAFE (Saving Antiquities for Everyone), because tomb raiding is theft, it is hard to give the exact size of the black market trade in antiquities. An article by Arielle Kozoloff says while legal antiquity trade generates $200 million in sales per year, the illegal market is measured in billions per year (The Antiquities Market: When, What, Where, Who, Why, and How Much? [Who Owns the Past? Rutgers University Press, 2005]).

But more than the money aspect, looters don’t care to preserve the site. Many of the amazing architecture of Egyptian tombs were destroyed by thieves in their quest for gold and other things to sell. Iraq, during the war with Saddam Hussein, was not spared and many of their treasures were looted.

And it’s not limited to Egypt or other places across the world. Right here in Amercia, there’s a robust trade in black market artifacts. If you visit the SAFE website (http://www.savingantiquities.org), you can find a wealth of facts and figures about the extent of this profession.

When I wrote Blood on the Moon, I knew I was stepping into a shaky area because of the black marks against tomb raiding. Again, this is where I blame Indiana and Lara because of my romanticism of that profession; I knew I had to write within that world.

My goal was to craft a tomb-raiding heroine who thrived there and walked a gray line of romanticism and reality and a hero on the opposite side who helps her change. It was not easy to do. I hope I succeeded.

Blood on the Moon is the first adventure into this often dark and seedy world. I plan to explore that side in future books.

I hope you enjoy this quick jaunt into the second oldest profession in the world.

If you want to read more, here are some excellent resources:

Loot – Sharon Waxman – 978-0-8050-9088-8
The Great Belzoni – Stanley Mayes – 978-1-84511-333-9
The Rape of the Nile –Brian M. Fagan – 978-0-8133-4061-6
Stealing History – Roger Atwood – 0-312-32407-3
Finders Keepers – Craig Childs – 978-0-316-06642-6


Posted on October 10, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Wonderful post! In my early life I wanted to be an archeologist. Life had other ideas 🙂


  2. Fascinating post . I like your approach to this subject. So much has been lost in the past! But so many of us have fantasies of finding buried treasure. 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Ah, Harrison Ford. He makes my tongue hang out. 🙂 I do understand your romanticism around tomb raiding. It is the adventure, as depicted in movies, instead of the slow and meticulous work of actual archaeologists.

    However, even archaeology has not always been good for antiquity. In the past month I watched a PBS special on the search for ancient Troy and the truth of the Trojan Wars and Helena. The first person to excavate the site (believed to be the site of Troy) destroyed much of it in his desire to get to what he believed was THE right strata for where Troy existed. Over the next 50+ years, they learned it was indeed even further down the mound–most of which he destroyed in his first excavations.

    It is also unfortunately true that soldiers of war will purposefully desecrate antiquities in another country. Just as they often purposefully defile women of that country. The Iraq war is a good example of this. But it has also happened throughout history. In both cases it is an act of hatred and violence with the soul purpose of harm and subjugation of the war conquered people. Perhaps in a future book you can have your tomb raiders still having a great adventure, but one that includes the heroic saving of antiquities and women from a war torn area.


    • Absolutely, Maggie, archeologists have done a number in destroying history in the search to discover and protect. And I found it interesting about the Iraq as I went to the King Tut exhibit this last weekend and the pharoahs themselves frequently defaced statues, even remaking them into their own image. And let’s not forget the citizens of countries. My reasearch also showed that Egyptians, for example, themselves were just as much at fault as Westerners. Very interesting. This is why I love writing out it. So much to think about!


  4. Great history here, Cassiel! Thanks! Love those movies, both Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. Blood on the Moon looks like a winner:)


  5. Reality is often the damper of a good fantasy.
    I appreciate your research on the matter but I will just have to watch a certain Harrison Ford movie 🙂


Thanks for your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: