Indiana Jones is the pop culture image of the archaeologist, gallivanting around the world in his trademark fedora and collecting artifacts that “belong in a museum.” The character of Indiana Jones shaped the way the world thinks about archaeology, but there is one problem with that: Indiana Jones is a terrible archaeologist.
Indiana Jones certainly doesn't represent the first or only time Hollywood has gotten something wrong (just look at the inaccuracies in Braveheart if you need more proof), since the film industry is notorious for blatantly ignoring facts in pursuit of captivating characters and narratives – and box office success. Although Indiana Jones introduced great stories and beloved characters, Jones’s image of the archaeologist is not always the best thing for real archaeologists and anthropologists whose work gets confused with his. Certainly, the 1930s, when the films are set, was a different decade for archaeology, and many of the professional techniques that are standard today weren't fully codified at the time. But Indy goes way beyond this discrepancy and, according to many archaeologists, is more of a looter than a scholar.
For your consideration: these are Indiana Jones's worst crimes against archaeology. (But that doesn't mean we hate archaeology movies.)
That Time He Looted A Temple For Gold And Ignored All The Other Significant Artifacts
When He Destroyed An Entire Archaeological Site
That Time He Used A Human Corpse As A Torch
When He Completely Failed To Work With The Locals
When He Looted the Ark of the Covenant From A Real, Legal Archaeological Site
When He Went Scorched Earth On The Ark Of The Covenant Archaeological Site