Recent Posts

Guest Blog: Tomb Raider and the Temples of Angkor

Guest blogger Anya Martin has just returned from a trip to Cambodia, where she explored the magnificent and now world-famous Angkor temple complex near Siem Reap. In this guest article, Anya not only shares what she’s learnt about the site’s construction and history but also discusses the impact the 2001 Tomb Raider film has had on the local economy. ********* In the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Lara pays a visit to a hidden tomb in Cambodia, where she finds the first half ... [Continue Reading]

September 21, 2013 // 13 Comments

Why We Love Ancient Languages

Earlier this week, I published a post titled “Why Study a Dead Language?”, which included an excerpt of Josephine Livingstone’s article “Why You Should Learn a Dead Language”. Apart from a few failed attempts to learn Middle Egyptian, I can’t really say I’ve tried to learn any “dead” languages, so I asked a few readers and followers on social media to share their experiences and reasons for learning Latin, Old English, and other ancient ... [Continue Reading]

September 20, 2013 // 4 Comments

Arte-Factual: Buddhist Symbols of Barkhang Monastery (Part 1)

Those of you who have known me for a while will probably know that Tomb Raider 2: The Dagger of Xian is (and most likely always will be) my favourite Tomb Raider game. You might also know that I was interested in archaeology and ancient civilisations long before Ms Croft appeared on the game scene in 1996. But did you know that my interest in Tibetan culture was triggered by Tomb Raider 2? Before TR2 was released, Tibet was, in my younger, uninformed mind, a semi-mythical land of snowy ... [Continue Reading]

September 18, 2013 // 19 Comments

Why Study a Dead Language?

In her article “Why You Should Learn a Dead Language”, academic Josephine Livingstone argues that there is still some value in learning dead (or extinct) languages such as Latin, Old English, and Sanskrit as they allow us access to a vast body of ancient literature and can even make it easier for people to acquire other modern languages. Sometimes we need to remember, however, that there are reasons for learning extinct languages beyond boarding-school nostalgia or a burning desire ... [Continue Reading]

September 16, 2013 // 11 Comments

7 Egyptology Blogs You Should Be Following

Are you interested in Ancient Egyptian history and art and looking for some quality blogs to read? Then look no further. Here are seven Egyptology blogs that get the Tomb Raider Horizons stamp of approval! Note: There is an updated list of Egyptology blogs in the article “8 Egyptology Blogs You Should Be Following” (published in March 2018). ********* 1) The Egyptiana Emporium – This blog is run by Gemma, an Egyptology graduate, and was one of the most popular blogs at the ... [Continue Reading]

September 15, 2013 // 18 Comments

Lara’s Travels: Meteora

In the last edition of Lara’s Travels, I wrote about the island of Jan Mayen in the Arctic Ocean, one of the real-life locations featured in Tomb Raider: Underworld. This time, however, we’ll be going back in time to where it all began and look at one of the places Lara visits in the original Tomb Raider (and Anniversary): St. Francis’ Folly. Of course, there is no real-life St. Francis’ Folly (try not to be too disappointed), though this hasn’t deterred fans from ... [Continue Reading]

September 11, 2013 // 12 Comments

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

10 Biographies of Early Female Archaeologists & Explorers

I’ve always thought of Lara Croft as a modern-day “romantic explorer”, albeit one who’s armed to the teeth and equipped with all the latest high-tech gadgetry. Her insatiable thirst for knowledge and adventure drives her to explore ancient ruins and remote lands in search of priceless artefacts and long-lost civilizations. But she is not alone in her quest. Women have been blazing trails through foreign lands and archaeology long before she was a twinkle in Toby ... [Continue Reading]

August 28, 2013 // 17 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

10 Things I’d Like to See in the ‘Tomb Raider’ Sequel

It’s been a couple of weeks since Square Enix confirmed that a sequel to this year’s Tomb Raider reboot was in the works. Many other bloggers have already put forward their wish lists for the upcoming game but I thought I’d add my two cents. Update: There have been a few announcements about the upcoming sequel, The Rise of the Tomb Raider, since I wrote this article. Click here to read more about this highly-anticipated game! Here are 10 things I’d like to see in the ... [Continue Reading]

August 20, 2013 // 34 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

Tomb Raider Sequel Has Been Confirmed

Good news, Tomb Raider fans! There *will* be a sequel to this year’s Tomb Raider game. A sequel had been hinted at when Dark Horse Comics announced a new Tomb Raider comic series was in the works but Phil Rogers, CEO for Square Enix Europe, put all the rumours to rest on his blog earlier today. “Square Enix is in production with a number of next generation projects, including Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, which were announced at this year’s E3, and Thief coming in ... [Continue Reading]

August 1, 2013 // 10 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