I discovered this image on the internet yesterday and found myself taken back to the place where my interest in all things cultural heritage related began. When people ask me about my interest in lost and stolen art and artifacts, I often use this NYTimes article, which I read in college, as the intellectual impetus. In reality, my interest reaches much farther back into my personal history. As a child, I often spent time with my father, an avid stamp and coin collector, learning about the histories of far off places. This lead to a love of maps, a way to better see and understand the political boundaries that influenced the production of the stamps and coins that he shared with me. It does not end here, however.
As many of you may have noticed my blog title is based off of one of my favorite movies EVER – Steven Spielberg’s 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now I do not want to get into the details of how accurately, or inaccurately Indiana Jones may or may not represent the archaeologist/spy/bad ass of the 1930s and 1940s. Rumor was, among Princetonians, that among the likes of Bruce Wayne, Indiana Jones was also a fictional alum. There are suggestions from story lines that Jones attended the University of Chicago, not Princeton. While he grew up there, is not clear that during his father’s tenure at Princeton (when not in search of the Holy Grail), that Indiana ever attended.
When it came time to describe what it was I wanted to accomplish with my blog Indiana – his connection to my alma mater, his role as a storyteller and adventurer, which made me proud of my knowledge of stamps and coins and my pursuit of the answers to history’s great questions – seemed like the obvious place to start – and Raider of the Lost Art was born.
I think storytelling – what we share about ourselves and the people we know and love – is a HUGE part of the archaeological and heritage traditions. Without the stories, the objects, the people, the places are not poignant, not as relevant. For me, the context is the content. While it may seem silly, I think like my dad, Indiana Jones, and the many archaeologists and historians out there in the world, I have great stories to tell. I hope that you have been enjoying my posts and look forward to next month’s “Where are you PARKed?” posts. Through the blog and our Instagram feed I will be sharing the stories of the parks in America’s third oldest city – Newark.