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Arte-Factual: Anubis Shrine (The Times Exclusive)

In the last edition of Arte-Factual, I wrote about the Metal Inrō from Tomb Raider 2013 and explained how these cases were used in pre-modern Japan. This time around, I will be taking a look at a well-known Ancient Egyptian artefact that makes an appearance in The Times Exclusive Level, a stand-alone level that was released in December 1999 and developed in conjunction with The Times newspaper.** The artefact in question is the Anubis statue (or rather, statues) which can be seen in the ... [Continue Reading]

September 4, 2013 // 11 Comments

Guest Blog: Why I Love Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider

In her guest blog, Shanthini explains what makes Lara Croft a good role model for young women (and men) and how Lara has inspired her to learn more about archaeology and ancient history. ********* It’s no secret that Lara Croft is one inspiring character. It doesn’t matter whether she’s fictional or not, she’s a fantastic role model. It doesn’t matter that she’s a little video game character, she’s been my idol for a couple of years now. Well, you know, apart from Jesus ... [Continue Reading]

August 31, 2013 // 9 Comments

Arte-Factual: Metal Inro (Tomb Raider 2013)

It’s been a while since I last wrote about an artefact from Tomb Raider 2013. Over a month, in fact. So without further ado, it’s time to examine one of the many collectable items hidden throughout the Shanty Town: the Metal Inrō. Inrō are small cases that were once used by Japanese men and women to carry identity seals (hanko), herbal medicine, tobacco, acupuncture needles, or other small personal effects around with them, not unlike a modern-day wallet or pouch. These cases, ... [Continue Reading]

August 25, 2013 // 15 Comments

Arte-Factual: Athenian Owl Figurine (Tomb Raider: Anniversary)

In the last edition of Arte-Factual, I wrote about the Gayer-Anderson cat statue and its virtual counterpart seen in the original Tomb Raider. This time around, I will be looking at an artefact that depicts one of my favourite animals: the Athenian Owl Figurine. The Athenian Owl Figure is one of the collectable relics found in Tomb Raider: Anniversary and, as its name suggests, is a depiction of the owl normally associated with the Greek goddess Athena and the ancient city-state of Athens. ... [Continue Reading]

August 18, 2013 // 9 Comments

Guest Blog: Life Might Not Be a Video Game But…

This guest blog by Anya Martin is the fourth in our Tomb Raider Inspirations series, in which fans of the Tomb Raider series share their thoughts on the franchise and its leading lady and explain how their personal and/or professional lives have been influenced by one of the most successful video game series to date. In her guest post, Anya shares her thoughts on the Tomb Raider series and explains how Lara’s single-minded dedication has helped shape her own worldview. ********* When I ... [Continue Reading]

August 12, 2013 // 14 Comments

Lara’s Travels: Jan Mayen Island

In the last edition of Lara’s Travels, we looked at the real and in-game Tomb of Semerkhet in Egypt. This time, we will be leaving the scorching deserts of Egypt behind us and will be turning our attention to a remote, volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean: Jan Mayen. Lara travels to Jan Mayen in Tomb Raider: Underworld in search of Valhalla and Thor’s legendary hammer, Mjölnir, in order to put an end to Natla’s plans to bring about the “Seventh Age” (thought to be ... [Continue Reading]

August 10, 2013 // 7 Comments

Arte-Factual: Egyptian Cat Statue (Tomb Raider 1)

Yesterday was World Cat Day so I thought I’d celebrate it (albeit belatedly) by writing a post about one of the most easily recognisable artefacts seen in the original Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider Gold: Unfinished Business, the Gayer-Anderson cat statue. A replica of this famous and much-loved statue could be found in the City of Khamoon and was apparently so appealing that Lara returned to the site in Unfinished Business to add the statue to her growing collection of looted, ahem, ... [Continue Reading]

August 9, 2013 // 15 Comments

Guest Blog: Gates of Hel: The Norse Cosmology Behind Tomb Raider: Underworld

In Tomb Raider: Underworld (2009), we follow Lara as she visits a number of Norse ‘underworlds’, scattered across locations including Mexico, the Mediterranean, and Thailand. Here she finds a series of artefacts allowing her to wield Thor’s legendary hammer Mjölnir, the key to opening the gates of Helheim, where she discovers the truth of her mother’s disappearance (following on from Legend’s plot). Unsurprisingly, the mythological and historical background of the game has been ... [Continue Reading]

August 6, 2013 // 8 Comments

Guest Blog: Lara Croft: The Muse for Every Strong Fictional Female Character Since 1996

This guest blog is the third in our Tomb Raider Inspirations series, in which fans of the Tomb Raider series share their thoughts on the franchise and its leading lady and explain how their personal and/or professional lives have been influenced by one of the most successful video game series to date. Today’s guest blog is from the author of Sometimes Inspiration Strikes, who explains how her love of the Tomb Raider franchise was rekindled and why she believes Lara has been the muse for ... [Continue Reading]

August 4, 2013 // 7 Comments

Jean-Yves Empereur: A Career in Ruins

“All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.” How often have we seen these words appear on the big screen, on TV, or in print? But oddly enough, there was one occasion where the resemblance to a fictional character in a Tomb Raider game was perhaps a little too close for comfort. Does the name Jean Yves ring any bells? In 2001, the Alexandria-based Egyptologist and archaeologist Jean-Yves Empereur ... [Continue Reading]

August 2, 2013 // 6 Comments

The Hunt for Himiko: Will Archaeologists Ever Excavate the Hashihaka Tomb?

In Tomb Raider 2013, Lara and the rest of the Endurance crew set out to look for the lost kingdom of Yamatai and its mysterious queen, Himiko, but, in reality, Japanese archaeologists have known the possible location of Himiko’s tomb for a few years now. Long-time readers of this blog may recall that a group of researchers were allowed access to the Hashihaka kofun burial mound earlier this year in the hope that they’d be able to confirm whether the tomb in Sakurai, Nara ... [Continue Reading]

July 30, 2013 // 12 Comments

Guest Blog: She May Only Consist of Polygons But She’ll Always Be My Hero

This guest blog is the second in our Tomb Raider Inspirations blog series, in which fans of the Tomb Raider series are invited to share their thoughts on the franchise and its leading lady and explain how their personal and/or professional lives have been influenced by one of the most successful video game series to date. Today’s guest blog is from Rhys, who explains how Lara became – and still is – his first role model and hero. One could say it’s odd that you could ... [Continue Reading]

July 23, 2013 // 1 Comment

Guest Blog: Lara Croft – Why I Love Her

This guest blog is the first in our Tomb Raider Inspirations blog series, in which fans of the Tomb Raider series are invited to share their thoughts on the franchise and its leading lady and explain how their personal and/or professional lives have been influenced by one of the most successful video game series to date. Today’s guest blog is from Chloë, who explains why she is a die-hard fan of Lara Croft and how this famous fictional “archaeologist” inspired her to study ... [Continue Reading]

July 18, 2013 // 7 Comments

Arte-Factual: Kansu Burial Urn (Tomb Raider 2013)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for another edition of Arte-Factual! Last time, we looked at the killer whale bottle from Tomb Raider: Anniversary and learnt a little about the Nasca, their beliefs, and their art. This time we’ll be taking a close look at one of the many collectable items found in Tomb Raider 2013: the Kansu burial urn. The “Kansu burial urn” bears a striking resemblance to a ceramic jar in the Asia Society’s collection, a Banshan type storage ... [Continue Reading]

July 10, 2013 // 11 Comments

Arte-Factual: Killer Whale Bottle (Tomb Raider: Anniversary)

In the last edition of Arte-Factual, we looked at the Golden Mask of Tornarsuk and learnt a little about Inuit culture and mythology. In this edition, we will be turning our attention to one of the collectable relics found in Tomb Raider: Anniversary: the Killer Whale Bottle. Like many of the artefacts and relics that have appeared in the last few Tomb Raider games, the Killer Whale Bottle is modelled after a real-life artefact. In this case, a Nasca polychrome ceramic effigy vessel which is ... [Continue Reading]

June 25, 2013 // 15 Comments

Article: TrowelBlazers: In Search of the Female Indiana Jones

Dr. Victoria Herridge, one of the co-founders of the amazing TrowelBlazers Tumblr blog, wrote an article for CNN’s Leading Women feature in which she talked about the blog and its mission to celebrate the lives and careers of the remarkable (and often overlooked) women who have made valuable contributions to the fields of palaeontology, geology, and archaeology over the past couple of centuries. I was bombarded with more examples of pioneering women archaeologists: Dorothy ... [Continue Reading]

June 22, 2013 // 10 Comments

Lara’s Travels: Tomb of Semerkhet

In this edition of Lara’s Travels, we’ll be exploring the Tomb of Semerkhet, one of the many Egypt-based levels in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. One of the things that long-time fans of the Tomb Raider series may have noticed is the series’ quirky blend of historical fact and archaeological fantasy. The Last Revelation is no exception. Does the Tomb of Semerkhet really exist? The answer is yes….and no. In The Last Revelation, Semerkhet is said to be a High Priest ... [Continue Reading]

June 8, 2013 // 13 Comments

Book Review: Ladies of the Field by Amanda Adams

Amanda Adams’ book, Ladies of the Field: Early Women Archaeologists and Their Search for Adventure (which you can buy on Amazon/Amazon UK), delves into the extraordinary lives of seven female archaeologists who, like Lara, threw convention to the wind to travel to faraway lands in pursuit of knowledge and adventure. Some were mothers, some never married, some were devoted wives who worked alongside their husbands, but all were inspirational, courageous and determined women who made ... [Continue Reading]

May 31, 2013 // 15 Comments

Article: Heroes, Mummies & Treasure: Near Eastern Archaeology in the Movies

Dr. Kevin McGeough’s article Heroes, Mummies & Treasure: Near Eastern Archaeology in the Movies examines the portrayal of Near Eastern archaeology in the movies and addresses the general public’s romantic view of archaeology as an adventurous – and often dangerous – occupation. He argues that archaeologists can better understand the public’s perception of archaeology and communicate archaeological knowledge more effectively if they confront these inaccurate, ... [Continue Reading]

May 26, 2013 // 6 Comments

Arte-Factual: Mask of Tornarsuk (Tomb Raider 2: Golden Mask)

In this edition of Arte-Factual, we turn our attention to the Golden Mask of Tornarsuk, an artefact that makes an appearance in Tomb Raider II: The Golden Mask, a five-level mini-adventure that was created for the 1999 “Gold” edition re-release of Tomb Raider II. According to Inuit mythology, Tornarsuk (also known as Torngarsuk) is a god, or supernatural being, who is usually depicted in either polar bear or human form and is the leader of the tornat (or tuurngait), nature ... [Continue Reading]

May 24, 2013 // 9 Comments