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Archaeology

Pillagers of the Past and an Interview with Author Jordan Jacobs

For decades, Hollywood and other entertainment outlets have depicted archaeologists as globe-trotting treasure hunters with a thirst for adventure, a taste for shiny trinkets, and a flagrant disregard for the integrity and safety of the ancient sites they’re trespassing on. Lost cities are a staple plot point of your average archaeological adventure and encounters with the mystical and/or paranormal are almost a certainty. Despite the best efforts of professional archaeologists and ... [Continue Reading]

January 27, 2015 // 12 Comments

Book Review: The Samantha Sutton Series by Jordan Jacobs

I had just turned 16 when the first Tomb Raider was released and I remember how I was instantly wowed by the game’s athletic, fiercely independent, and intelligent female protagonist. As a tomboyish bookworm, I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton novels, encyclopaedias, and any books on Ancient Egypt I could get my hands on at our small, under-stocked local library. And despite the countless hours I spent reading, I never seemed to come across any female characters I could truly identify ... [Continue Reading]

January 17, 2015 // 4 Comments

Arte-Factual: Apsaras, the Celestial Dancers of Hindu Myth (Tomb Raider 3)

It recently came to my attention that, despite having launched this blog almost two years ago, I still hadn’t written any articles on the Core Design classic Tomb Raider 3. So it’s time to set that right. Introducing new vehicles and a less linear globe-trotting adventure, Tomb Raider 3 also featured some stunning artwork from the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, such as the dancers motif seen in the screenshot below and throughout the game’s India levels. The ... [Continue Reading]

October 15, 2014 // 3 Comments

Lara’s Travels: The Aleutian Islands

Over the years, Lara Croft has visited some of the coldest and most remote places on the planet and the Aleutian Islands, which feature in the mini-adventure The Golden Mask, are no exception. In Golden Mask, Lara travels to Melnikov Island in search of the legendary Golden Mask of Tornarsuk and ends up infiltrating an old Soviet base in the process. While Melnikov Island is completely fictional, the Aleutian Islands themselves are very much real and may have been home to some of the first ... [Continue Reading]

July 27, 2014 // 4 Comments

Arte-Factual: Aztec Maize Goddess (Tomb Raider 1)

When I first played Tomb Raider 1 back in 1996, I never realized how many real-life Pre-Columbian (and other) artefacts could be spotted throughout the game’s Peru levels. Some of them, such as the Chimú bird carving, were already familiar to me as I had done some research on Peruvian art and archaeology for a GCSE Art project. But it wasn’t until I started working on this site and replaying this 1996 classic that I began to notice that the game’s graphics artists had also, ... [Continue Reading]

July 11, 2014 // 0 Comments

5 TED Talks on Archaeology & Cultural Heritage

The Tomb Raider games may have whet your appetite for all things ancient but if you really want to indulge your inner archaeologist, you should put down your game controller and find out what the experts have to say about this exciting field of study. From the use of 3D laser scanning in site preservation to the ongoing search for the origins of our species, these five TED talks offer unique insights into how 21st century archaeology and anthropology are conducted.** 1) Sarah Parcak: ... [Continue Reading]

April 15, 2014 // 5 Comments

Arte-Factual: 100 Mon Coin (Tomb Raider 2013)

It’s been a while since I last wrote about one of Tomb Raider 2013’s collectable relics and since it’s been a year since the game was released, what better time than to examine one of the ancient coins Lara finds inside the Cliffside Bunker on Yamatai? The 100 mon coin, also referred to as a “Tempō Tsūhō” (天保通寶), is one of the two Japanese coins Lara finds inside the cliffside bunker (the other being the “2 sen coin“) and, as Lara quite ... [Continue Reading]

March 13, 2014 // 4 Comments

Arte-Factual: The Dendera Zodiac (The Last Revelation)

It seems that everyone is going crazy for Katy Perry’s latest music video, Dark Horse, which presents a very colourful, if somewhat inaccurate, view of Ancient Egypt. So I thought I’d jump on the latest “Egyptomania” bandwagon and look at a famous sculpture that can be seen in the Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation level, Cleopatra’s Palaces. Perhaps you may recall seeing a large blue disc painted on (or carved out of) the ceiling of one of the rooms in the palace ... [Continue Reading]

February 26, 2014 // 8 Comments

The Hunt for Himiko Continues: Has Himiko’s Palace Been Found?

The search for the shaman queen Himiko and her kingdom Yamatai has long been one of the holy grails of Japanese archaeology but it seems that archaeologists are another step closer to pinpointing the exact location of her long-lost kingdom. Archaeologists working at the Makimuku archaeological site in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, one of the possible locations of Yamatai’s ancient capital, have uncovered the ruins of a building that may have been part of the queen’s residential ... [Continue Reading]

February 9, 2014 // 6 Comments

Guest Blog: 6 Amazing Archaeological Sites That Lara Croft Hasn’t Visited (But Really Should)

Guest Blog by Lisa-Marie Shillito (@ArchaeologyLisa) 1) Pavlopetri – The City Beneath the Waves In the original Tomb Raider Lara finds herself in the fabled lost city of Atlantis, known only through the written accounts of Plato around 360 BC, where it is said to have vanished beneath the waves some 9000 years earlier. This would make Atlantis around 11,000 years old, pushing its occupation right back to the beginning of the Holocene, or the end of the last Ice Age. In archaeological ... [Continue Reading]

January 25, 2014 // 3 Comments

The Best & Worst of The Archaeology of Tomb Raider

It’s January so that means we’re now into the third month of the Blogging Archaeology blog carnival. In November, we talked about our reasons for blogging and in December, we talked about the positive and negative aspects of blogging. This time around, Doug has asked us to reflect on what we consider our best (or worst) blog posts. He left this open to interpretation so each blogger has approached the topic from a different angle. Some have gone for a more quantitative approach, ... [Continue Reading]

January 19, 2014 // 11 Comments

Arte-Factual: The Mouth of Truth (Tomb Raider Chronicles)

Tomb Raider Chronicles was possibly my least favourite game of the Tomb Raider series. Sure, it had fewer glitches and better controls than its ill-received successor Angel of Darkness but it offered nothing new in terms of game-play aside from a couple of new moves and its short, episodic nature made it feel more like an expansion pack than a standalone game. Having said that, Chronicles did have one major redeeming factor: the fact that three of its levels were set in Rome. Rome is one of ... [Continue Reading]

January 12, 2014 // 1 Comment

My Love-Hate Relationship With Blogging

We’re into the second month of the Blogging Archaeology blog carnival and what an amazing event it’s turning out to be. Over 60 bloggers took part in the last month’s session, in which we were all asked to explain why we blog about archaeology. The responses were as diverse as the authors themselves. Some started their blogs as a way to share their research with a wider audience while others, such as Graecomuse, simply wanted to cut through the romanticised view that the ... [Continue Reading]

December 15, 2013 // 17 Comments

Photo Gallery: Jean Michel Thery’s Tomb Raider Models

If you’ve been visiting the Archaeology of Tomb Raider Facebook page recently, you may have seen some photos of an Ancient Egyptian-themed Tomb Raider model. This beautiful work of art was created by Jean Michel Thery and since he doesn’t have his own blog or website, I offered to share his photos on this blog. Jean Michel was born and raised in Lille, France, and now lives in Belgium. He retired a few years ago and devotes most of his free time to DIY, archery, playing video games, ... [Continue Reading]

December 13, 2013 // 10 Comments

Photo Gallery: Trajan’s Market, Rome

Some of you may recall that I visited Rome, “The Eternal City”, in mid November. I’ve finally gotten round to sorting through my holiday photos so I thought I’d share some of the photos I took at Trajan’s Market. Tomb Raider fans will probably recognise the name as it was one of the places Lara Croft visits in the 2000 game Tomb Raider Chronicles. I plan to write about Trajan’s Market in greater depth in an upcoming edition of Lara’s Travels, so keep an ... [Continue Reading]

December 8, 2013 // 6 Comments

Lara’s Travels: KV5

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the KV5 level of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation was rather dull and forgettable. There are no real tombs to explore, no noteworthy treasures to find and you spend most of your time driving a jeep through sand dunes, dodging grenades, and avoiding deadly spike pits. Perhaps the level designers just didn’t realise that the real KV5 would turn out to be the largest tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings. KV5, which stands for ... [Continue Reading]

November 10, 2013 // 5 Comments

Why I Blog About Archaeology (and Tomb Raider)

Doug, author of the blog Doug’s Archaeology, will be hosting a blogging carnival on the subject of archaeology and blogging in the lead-up to next year’s Society for American Archaeology (SAA) conference. Each month, Doug will post a question on his blog and invite other bloggers to share their thoughts and opinions on certain issues. This sounded like a fantastic initiative to address the role of blogging in archaeology so I decided to join in the fun and share my own (dare I say ... [Continue Reading]

November 6, 2013 // 14 Comments

The First Lady of Chinese Archaeology

Trowelblazers recently published an article I wrote for them on the career of the Chinese archaeologist Zheng Zhenxiang and her discovery of the tomb of the Shang Dynasty female general and priestess Lady Fu Hao. Although this isn’t strictly Tomb Raider-related, I know that a lot of you are interested in archaeology and female archaeologists so here’s a short excerpt of my article for you to enjoy: Zheng Zhenxiang (born in 1929) was not only the first female archaeologist of New ... [Continue Reading]

November 6, 2013 // 8 Comments

Arte-Factual: Minoan Dolphin Fresco (Tomb Raider 1)

Time for another blast from the past as we return once again to the original 1996 Tomb Raider for this edition of Arte-Factual! If you’ve ever played the original game, you may have noticed that the game developers drew inspiration from real-life artworks and artefacts, such as the Toltec pillars at Tula in Mexico, the Gayer-Anderson cat statue, and the Chimú bird motifs that adorn the adobe walls of buildings at Chan Chan in Peru. This time around, we’ll be looking at the walls ... [Continue Reading]

October 7, 2013 // 12 Comments

Photo Gallery: Tutankhamun: His Tomb and Treasures

Taking some time out from writing about the Tomb Raider series to share some of the photos I took at the Tutankhamun: His Tomb and Treasures exhibition in Brussels back in June 2011. All of the items shown below are replicas of the grave goods and coffins that Howard Carter and his team found in tomb KV62 in November 1922. Over 1,000 replicas were crafted by some of Egypt’s finest craftsmen who used traditional techniques to recreate many of the young king’s treasures to stunning ... [Continue Reading]

September 23, 2013 // 5 Comments