When you hear the words ‘archaeology’, one of the first names that comes to mind is Indiana Jones. This famous fictional adventurer’s jacket, hat and whip will be on display as part of a new exhibition at National Museum Cardiff, which is now open and runs until 30 October 2016.
One of the first events in Wales’ Year of Adventure 2016, 'Treasures: Adventures in Archaeology' explores how archaeology has shaped popular culture, and has been shaped by it, since early adventurers started exploring the ancient world.
Indiana Jones’ character was inspired by the exploits of historical archaeologists in the field, such as the colourful Giovanni Belzoni, the ‘father of Egyptian archaeology’ Flinders Petrie, and the traveller and explorer Adela Breton. Their stories will be told in the new exhibition and contrasted with the portrayal of archaeological discoveries in popular culture, fiction and film.
Many of the exhibition’s objects are on display in Wales for the first time including pre-Columbian gold; ancient Greek artefacts from Schliemann’s excavations at Mycenae; watercolours and finds made during Giovanni Belzoni’s Egyptian expeditions of the early 19th century; a 19th-century crystal skull on loan from Musée du Quai Branly Paris; and the crystal skull from the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, thanks to Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
Wales also has its own share of archaeological adventures and treasures. Visitors to the exhibition will see the Roman hoard of coins and rings from Sully, brought together for the very first time since their discovery in 1899; silver from the wreck of the Ann Francis, which was lost on Margam Beach in 1583; and human remains from Viking-age burials at Llanbedrgoch, Anglesey.
The Year of Adventure aims to promote Wales’ adventure offer, from thrill-seeking activities such as zip wires and mountain biking to exciting exhibitions in museums. It will also include celebratory events to mark the centenary of adventure writer Roald Dahl.
David Anderson, Director General of National Museum Wales said :
“Archaeological adventure captures the imagination. It is no surprise that it has inspired popular culture. Its influence is everywhere, from books, films and TV programmes to architecture, clothes, jewellery, and toys. I hope Treasures: Adventures in Archaeology will capture the imagination of our visitors – of all ages!”
Entry to the museum itself is free, there is an admission fee for the exhibition. Purchase tickets online in advance here or at the Museum on the day (subject to availability). Full price £7; concessions £5; and entry is free for those aged 16 and under.
Find out more on the National Museum website.
The exhibition is open from 10am every day apart from Mondays (with the exception of Bank Holidays), with last admission at 4pm.
Find out more about museums in Wales