A couple years back I had the opportunity to get an early tour of the Navigating the West : George Caleb Bingham and the River on its stay at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas. There is a little writeup on that exhibit and my first visit to the museum here. What fascinated me even more than getting to see Bingham’s sketches and art mostly all in one place was the inclusion of the giant panorama painting of a trip down the Mississippi River. I am still awed by this thing and it has its own in depth analysis here. It started down a tributary of my own dissertation work as I discovered more and more about this particular panorama and the genre of panoramas in general. They were ubiquitous in Antebellum America and traversed to and from England and Europe. They were full fanfares and had lectures and music accompanist for the full adventure effect.
For me, History is filled with people and things. I have never really indulged in the movements and theories and isms that seem to infect the past presently. For a historian this is a professional character defect, for me it is what brings history alive and allows us to find our connections to it. It is likely why I spent so much time learning archaeology and paleontology. I believe it is ultimately what lead me to the history of science so I could talk about all of that at once.
As I continue to look at the professionalization of disciplines in the later 19th century I believe I am beginning to see the historic thread that connects these things starting to match the thread of my personal interests in their modern incarnations. The greatest thing about these readings (and the few before in the last post) is that I have been part of their modern machinations. Aside from working in the Vertebrate Paleo lab (such as it is) at Lamar for most of my undergrad, I spend a summer field season in Belize with the University of Texas following the Maya. Continue reading The Road to Comps Part 4: Emergent Specializations-Anthropology/Paleoanthropology
Turns out Hugh Hudson has a new film out that focuses on the discovery of the prehistoric cave paintings in Altamira. If you aren’t familiar with the discovery, the Cliff Notes version is an 8 year old girl named Maria led her father Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola to a cave which held amazing paleolithic paintings of bison among other wonders; scientific debates ensue. Continue reading Prehistory and Paleolithic Pop Culture
Now, I would be completely remiss if I did not include the following man of action on the list. Not all of the men behind the movie actually lived, you see. Continue reading The Greatest Adventurer of All Time
Rounding out the final four position for the Indian Jones question is a British archaeologist by the name of John Pendlebury. Born in London in 1904, John Pendlebury had blinded himself in one eye by age eight, received scholarships for Pembroke and eventually competed internationally as a high jumper. Pendlebury made is mark in the world in Greek archaeology. Continue reading John Pendlebury Man at Knossos
Dealing with the most famous of the two source pre Indiana Jones Joneses has not left is without other contenders. I am sure there are even more than managed to make my list. But these are the ones I am familiar with, and can give the best account of, or advice for reading about. The third individual on our quest to find the source was different from his two predecessors by one chief enterprise: he was actually a trained archaeologist. Continue reading Sylvanus Morley…Undercurrents
Following up on the heels of RCA, another
famous explorer-archaeologist (treasure hunter *gasp*) is Hiram Bingham III. (there was at least a IV, but I am not sure what number the family is up to now) Continue reading Hiram Bingham, Door No. 2
Roy Andrews may be the most popular (and likely) candidate for the inspiration behind Indian Jones. It is had to argue with the look, the hat, the field gear, the gun. But, one must remember that mot all field gear looks that way, and in general, so does field gear. Continue reading Roy Chapman Andrews
Beginning sometime near the end of the last century I worked mainly between three major identity crises. I had (still have) a common tendency to find common ground with a character in a movie or book and slip into some sort of anachronistic version of that person in the real world. The funny thing is pieces of each of them have stayed and wedged firmly into the makings of a psyche that is truly unique. After swillowing between the likes of Don Johnson’s Marlboro Man, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, and Elvis high school finally ended and I was able to make a clean slate and move into the more lucrative field of college. Continue reading The Making of an Indiana Jones…