Tomb Raider Research Papers & Articles for the Academic Gamer

Are you a student or researcher looking for research papers and articles on Tomb Raider, Lara Croft, or archaeogaming? Then you’re in luck. Here you will find an archive of articles and theses that analyse the franchise and its heroine from an academic point of view.

Please note that not all of these papers are open access. Some may require you to create an account or have institutional access to the database the paper is hosted on. I also cannot vouch for the usefulness of every resource listed here, though I certainly hope that this archive of Tomb Raider research papers and articles serves as a launchpad for your own research.

Let these Tomb Raider research papers and articles be the launchpad for your own research

Tomb Raider Research Papers & Articles on Archaeology, Archaeologists, & Archaeological Ethics

“Archaeological Ethics, Immaterial Places, and Tomb Raider by Meghan Dennis, Historical Games Network, 2021.

“Archaeology in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition by Andrew Reinhard, Archaeogaming, 2015.

“Artifacts of Empire: Orientalism and Inner-Texts in Tomb Raider (2013)” by Kristin M. S. Bezio, Contemporary Research on Intertextuality in Video Games, edited by Christophe Duret and Christian-Marie Pons, IGI Global, 2016, pp. 189-208.

“Before You Let Nathan Drake Be The Next Indiana Jones, Archaeologists Would Like A Few Words” by Rhianna Bennett, Archaeogaming Collective, 2022.

“Digital Digs, or Lara Croft Replaying Indiana Jones: Archaeological Tropes and “Colonial Loops” in New Media Narrative” by Claudia Breger, Aether: The Journal of Media Geography, Volume 2, 2008, pp. 41-60.

“Heroes, Mummies, and Treasure: Near Eastern Archaeology in the Movies” by Kevin McGeough, Near Eastern Archaeology, Volume 69, No.3-4, 2006, pp. 174-185.

“Lara Croft Is Back with a Bang – But There Are Real Tomb Raiders Out There” by Ellen Finn, The Conversation, 2018.

“Lara Croft: The Problematic Archaeologist” by Franki Webb, Archaeoblog, 2019.

“Rebooting Empire: Unpacking the Baggage of Tomb Raider by William Johnson, William AKA Bill, 2018.

“Romancing the Stones: Archaeology in Popular Cinema” by Mark A. Hall, European Journal of Archaeology, Volume 7, Issue 2, 2014, pp. 159–176.

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider Attempts To Reckon With Its Colonialist Origins” by Luna, Grunge Gamer, 2022.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Guilt and Colonialism” by James, Death is a Whale: Video Games and Religion, 2020.

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider or Shadow Of Colonialism?” by Richard Drumm, HeadStuff, 2018.

“Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s White Saviour Problem” by Chella Ramanan, Game Industry News, 2018.

“The Adventuring Archaeologist Trope” by Katy Meyers, Play the Past, 2011.

“The Casual Colonialism of Lara Croft and Indiana Jones” by Daniel A. Gross, Hyperallergic, 2018.

Tomb Raider Research Papers & Articles on Heritage & Tourism

“Angkor Meets Tomb Raider : Setting the Scene” by Tim Winter, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Volume 8, Issue 4, 2002, pp. 323-336.

“Tomb Raiding Angkor: A Clash of Cultures” by Tim Winter, Indonesia and the Malay World, Volume 31, Number 89, 2003, pp. 58-68.

Tomb Raider Research Papers & Articles – Games Studies

“An Approach to the Ethics of Archaeogaming” by Shawn Graham, Internet Archaeology, Issue 55, 2020.

“Fantastically Real: Reading Tomb Raider by Barry Atkins, More than a Game: The Computer Game as Fictional Form, Manchester University Press, 2003.

“Jonah Maiava and Polynesian Representation in Tomb Raider by Muheni Tamahori, The Moody Rhubarb, 2022.

“Making Sense of Video Games: A Textual Analysis of Tomb Raider II by Patrick Sunnen, (Master’s dissertation, University of London), 2000.

“Predicting Player Behavior in Tomb Raider: Underworld by Tobias Mahlmann, Anders Drachen, Julian Togelius, Alessandro Canossa, and Georgios N. Yannakakis, Proceedings of the 2010 IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games, 2010, pp. 178-185.

“Pushing Buttons: How Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft Was Let Down by Generic Games” by Keza MacDonald, The Guardian, 2022.

“Redemption out of History: Chronotopical Analysis of Shadow of the Tomb Raider by Tomasz Z. Majkowski, L’Atalante, Issue 31, 2021.

“The Game Changers: Decolonizing Video Games” by Franki Webb, Play the Past, 2020.

“Untold Riches: The Intricate Platforming of Tomb Raider by Hamish Todd, Game Developer, 2013.

And if you’re interested in the multidisciplinary field of archaeogaming, check out the Society for American Archaeology’s special publication, “Video Games and Archaeology”. This November 2016 issue of The SAA Archaeological Record includes articles from leading researchers in the field, such as Colleen Morgan, Andrew Reinhard, and Meghan Dennis.

Tomb Raider Research Papers & Articles – Media Studies

“Creating Lara Croft: The Meaning of the Comic Books for the Tomb Raider Franchise” by Josefa Much, Comics and Videogames: From Hybrid Medialities to Transmedia Expansions, edited by Andreas Rauscher, Daniel Stein, and Jan-Noël Thon, Routledge, 2020, pp. 222-239.

Tomb Raider: Ideological Perspectives & Transmedia Narratives” by Sophia Gibbons, Medium, 2017.

Tomb Raider Research Papers & Articles – Women & Gender Studies

“Andromeda on the Rocks: Retreading and Resisting Tropes of Female Sacrifice in Tomb Raider by Meghan Blythe Adams, Kinephanos, “Gender Issues in Video Games”, 2017.

“Characterization of Female Protagonists in Video Games: A Focus on Lara Croft” by Hye-Won Han and Se-Jin Song, Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, Volume 20, Issue 3, 2014, pp. 27-49.

“Fourth Wave Feminism in Video Games: An Analysis of Lara Croft” by Janine Engelbrecht, Women in Historical and Archaeological Video Games, edited by Jane Draycott, De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2022.

“Gender and Videogames: The Political Valency of Lara Croft” by Maja Mikula, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Volume 17, Issue 1, 2003, pp. 79-87.

“Gender Roles in Videogames – An Archaeologist’s View” by Sebastian Hageneuer, It’s More of a Comment, 2021.

“Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo?: On the Limits of Textual Analysis” by Helen W. Kennedy, Game Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2002.

“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Queer Icon” by Noelle K. Adams, Pfangirl Through the Looking Glass, 2015.

“More than the Male Gaze: In Defense of the First Lara Croft” by Kate Sánchez, But Why Tho?, 2018.

“‘Take That, Bitches!’: Refiguring Lara Croft in Feminist Game Narratives” by Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Game Studies, Volume 14, Issue 2, 2014.

“The New Lara Phenomenon: A Postfeminist Analysis of Rise of the Tomb Raider by Janine Engelbrecht, Game Studies, Volume 20, Issue 3, 2020.

Tomb Raider and the Riot-Grrrl Feminism of the ’90s” by Chris Priestman, Kill Screen, 2015.

“Why We’ve Been Arguing About Lara Croft for Two Decades” by Aja Romano, Vox, 2018.

Tomb Raider Research Papers & Articles – Other

“Unifying Elements in the Tomb Raider Trilogy Game Soundtracks” by Pieter Smal, (Bachelor’s thesis, University of Pretoria), 2013.


New articles and research papers will be added to this archive as they are found. If you’ve written any Tomb Raider-related research papers or articles that would like to see listed here, feel free to leave a link to your paper in the comments section below. Priority will be given to open-access material.

Last updated on: November 10, 2022.

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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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