The fictional archaeologist has a special spot in pop culture, with four movies and a fifth on the way. The films have grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide. The American Film Institute lists “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at No. 66 on its list of 100 greatest American movies of all time. The character ranked No. 2 on its 100 greatest heroes and villains list, right behind Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. While it lost to “Chariots of Fire,” it picked up wins in art direction, sound, film editing and special effects.

John Blong.

The real process for beginning an archaeological adventure takes more preparation. Field work starts with a consultation with the group that owns the land, whether its state, federal or private, said John Blong, assistant professor of anthropology at Washington State University in Pullman. This process also includes a plan for what happens to artifacts that may be discovered on the site, a detail left out in the “Indiana Jones” movies.

Rachel Horowitz.

Sometimes the answer is in the landscape before an archaeologist’s eyes, which is how Rachel Horowitz, assistant professor of anthropology at WSU, makes her discoveries. Horowitz specializes in finding stone tools in the Maya region. Mounds on the ground indicate where people once lived.

Erin Thornton.

To Erin Thornton, associate professor of anthropology at WSU, Indy misses all the good finds when he brushes past the skeletons. Her work involves analyzing human and animal bones.

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