Society for American Archaeology Publishes Magazine on Video Games & Archaeology

If you’re interested in the up-and-coming academic discipline of “archaeogaming”, you should check out the Society for American Archaeology’s November 2016 magazine, which can be downloaded as a PDF here or read online.

This special issue is devoted to the study of video games and archaeology – or “archaeogaming” – and features articles by some of the leading researchers in the field.

Of particular interest to visitors to this site is L. Meghan Dennis’s article “Archaeogaming, Ethics, and Participatory Standards” (pages 29-33), which touches upon the various ethical concerns and challenges academics face as part of their research into video game worlds. The multi-authored article “Video Games in Archaeology: Enjoyable but Trivial?” (pages 11-15) offers some interesting insights into archaeogaming research and the gaming industry’s (largely) untapped potential for introducing real archaeology to a wider, global audience.

Screenshot from Rise of the Tomb Raider's Syria level
Lara Croft examining a Byzantine mural in ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, archaeogaming is broadly defined as “the study of archaeology in and of video games as well as the use of video games for archaeological purposes”. One of the core topics commonly explored by academics working within this field (and on this site) is the depiction of archaeology, artefacts, historical events, and archaeologists in video games, with a particular emphasis on archaeological ethics and methodology… or lack thereof.

A full chart of the discipline’s diverse (and growing) fields of interest can be found over on Andrew Reinhard’s site.

And if you’d like to find out what archaeologists and other academics have to say about Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider series, check out the links listed in this article.

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About Kelly M

Kelly McGuire is a writer, part-time translator, and gamer who is passionate about archaeology, language learning, travel, and wildlife conservation. She tweets under the username @TRHorizons and is the admin and chief content creator for Tomb Raider Horizons.

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6 Comments on “Society for American Archaeology Publishes Magazine on Video Games & Archaeology”

  1. Very interesting! My archaeology professor in college put up pics of Lara Croft and Indiana Jones on the very first day of class to help illustrate to us what archaeology is (and isn’t), and while she made it clear that both are flawed, Hollywood-ized depictions of archaeologists, she seemed to be more accepting of Indy as an archaeologist than our beloved Lady Croft. Always interesting to hear what real scholars have to say about their film and video game counterparts! Great article, as usual.

    1. I think Indy tends to be forgiven more easily because he’s also a professor while Lara (at least pre-reboot) was always depicted as a rich gal who looks for ancient treasure in her spare time. 😉

      Would be interesting to see what people think of Reboot Lara as she actually *is* an archaeology graduate…

  2. Thanks so much for sharing the issue! We’re all really excited it’s come out. I’m going to be doing survey work for my doctoral research in the upcoming months, and there will be questions aimed at getting at perceptions of archaeology based on Original vs Reboot Lara. My personal feelings are…complicated, on her newish backstory.

    1. I can imagine! Her lack of archaeological ethics made more sense when she was just a wealthy adventurer. Reboot Lara has a degree in archaeology so you’d think she’d know better…