The Real Indiana Jones

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Archaeology departments may want to write thank-you notes to Harrison Ford, who brought George Lucas' Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., alias "Indy," to life on the silver screen.

Already, the Indiana Jones franchise has earned many millions of dollars. Last weekend, the newest installment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, made $126 million. Surely some of those young devotees, eager to pay $10 for a ticket, have thought, "Gee, this guy is cool. Maybe I should be an archaeologist, too." Little do they know, though, that most archaeologists don't wear leather or fight fascist enemies. They spend most days in the hot sun, using spoons to unearth pieces of pottery. OK, that's oversimplifying things...

We'll talk with archaeologist Fred Hiebert, an archeology fellow at the National Geographic Society. He is the curator of a new show, on display here in Washington, called Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul. It opened yesterday.

What questions do you have for Hiebert, a real archaeologist? Does he carry a bull whip? Does he sport a rakish fedora?

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I'm an archaeologist in northern Illinois and I spend most of my time walking in corn and bean fields staring at the ground for hours on end finding prehistoric flakes and historic ceramics. We get really excited if we find a prehistoric point, like an arrow head. I never go anywhere exotic and most of the places I do go are near a highway that will be going under construction. I love Indiana Jones but my job is nothing like the movies.

Sent by Amanda Douglas | 3:48 PM | 5-26-2008

I was wondering if Mr. Hiebert ever was enrolled in the Geneva Illinois school system. I saw the piece about him on Sunday Morning and was totally intrigued. I believe he went to school with one of my brothers.

Sent by Emilee | 10:45 PM | 8-24-2008

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