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Box Office Archaeology
Refining Hollywood’s Portrayals of the Past
Julie M Schablitsky (Editor)
256 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / May, 2007
Paperback (978-1-59874-056-1)
Hardback (978-1-59874-055-4)
eBook (978-1-61132-451-8)
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Related Interest
  - Archaeology
  - Communication & Media Studies
  - Cultural Studies & the Arts

“How true is it?” is a common refrain of patrons coming out of movie theatres after the latest film on pirates, Vikings, or mummies. While Hollywood usurps the past for its own entertainment
"Why did I select this book to review? I admit to being surprised when it came up in a search for pirate books, and its inclusion intrigued me enough to visit the publisher’s website to learn more. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Box Office Archaeology and I learned a lot I didn’t know...This book is one of those rare examples where archaeologists present their findings on a level that most people can readily understand, and in a way that makes the subject interesting. Anyone who wants to know more about reality versus Hollywood’s interpretation of our cultural past will find this book a compelling, eye-opening revelation. To read the complete review, please visit http://www.cindyvallar.com/adultpiratebks2.html#box"

- Cindy Vallar, Pirates and Privateers: The History of Maritime Piracy

"Box Office Archaeology’s collection of papers has much to recommend it. For readers interested in the presentation of American history in the American media, the second half includes some very interesting discussion of the differences between popular presentation and archaeological and historical evidence in the portrayal of nineteenth-century communities. Students interested in the period, but unfamiliar with it, may find that the use of film provides a helpful starting point. "

- James Holloway, Archaeological Review from Cambridge

"Mummies, pirates, and cowboys are just a few popular historical subjects that have been made into good, bad, and really bad movies and television shows…all represent some aspect of the past, do they represent a true past? Do movies mislead the public into believing that what they see actually occurred? Box Office Archaeology tries to answer some of these questions…in a series of essays by leading archaeologies, who discuss what actually happened. This collection is highly recommended for archaeology, history, film, and popular culture classes, as well as for those people sitting in the audience wanting to know a little more about their favorite movie or television show. Read the complete review at: http://wings.buffalo.edu/ARD/cgi/showme.cgi?keycode=3164


- Melissa Aho, Anthropology Review Database

"Box Office Archaeology offers a thought-provoking look at what history and archaeology have to tell us in a dozen different areas."

- Myron Beckenstein, Newsletter of the Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc.

"This curious book will appeal to archaeologists who are annoyed when Hollywood constructs fi lm plots that do not conform to their understanding of the evidences and, far more importantly, to teachers who intend to teach history through a commentary on filmic representations…Of course we can all be fascinated by film representations of our discipline, but ultimately technical critiques such as those found throughout Box Office Archaeology must been seen as statements about archaeology rather than about cinema. "

- Peter Hiscock, Australian Archaeology

"Discerning audiences can tell the difference between Victorian and Edwardian dress, Viking longboats and Greek fishing boats. Archaeology has helped with the verisimilitude of sets and the background for the action; however, the tale drives the characters and the action, whether strictly true or mythic, and these are in the hands of script and director. Strong chapters by archaeologists look at the movies [...].The authors are master archaeologists and fans of the cinema--a fine combination. Summing Up: Highly recommended."

- C.S. Peebles, CHOICE Magazine

purposes, archaeologists and historians know a lot about many of these subjects, digging up stories often more fascinating than the ones projected on screen. This distinguished group of archaeologists select key subjects and genres used by Hollywood and provide the historical and archaeological depth that a movie cannot--what really happened in history. Topics include Egypt, the Wild West, Civil War submarines, Vikings, the Titanic, and others. The book should be of interest to introductory archaeology and American history classes, courses on film and popular culture, and to a general audience. Alternate Selection, History Book Club.

To learn more about the editor, Julie M. Schablisky, check out: "She Digs History's Mysteries"

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