Indiana Jones may have rescued the odd Biblical relic from Nazis for the greater good of humanity, but much of his archaeological career was spent wrecking temples and swiping sacred shiny stuff from them for his local museum. And in cinemas across the land the original Tomb Raider, Lara Croft, is embarking on a new destructive phase of messing up ancient sites in her latest cinema reboot.
But in pop culture terms the tables are turning on treasure hunters, with the release of Black Panther. Marvel’s latest blockbuster opens with the film’s villain Erik Killmonger in a fictional museum, where he (very forcibly) removes cultural artefacts looted by British troops from his homeland. So impactful is the scene that the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian referenced it in a job advert for a repatriation research specialist, to help restore artefacts to indigenous tribal communities.
Continue reading – Meet the anti-Indiana Jones’ returning stolen artefacts to their homes