Date of Award

May 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Bettina Arnold

Committee Members

Thomas Malaby, Jean Hudson


Colonialism, Fiction, Gender, Media Studies, Public Archaeology, Representation


The public presentation of archaeology in various media, especially fictional representations in print, film, TV, and video games, is a complex and slippery subject that has been an issue since the field’s inception. This thesis compares analyses of popular representations of archaeology in conventional media such as feature films to new examples of such representations that have not yet been studied. The focus of the analysis is how archaeology and archaeologists are represented in the Star Wars franchise in products that were published or released on or after 2014. These texts and images are analyzed through the multiple lenses of theoretical approaches to gender, colonialism and pseudo-science to determine whether and how such representations of archaeology and its practitioners have changed since the beginning of the Star Wars franchise and what has yet to change in the way archaeology is portrayed in these contexts. This research attempts to peer behind the curtain as well, revealing the conventions used to convey genre-specific representations of archaeology. Genre conventions often determine the outcome and characteristics of the stories told in various media about archaeology, which in turn affect how archaeology is presented and perceived. Lastly, examples of how more accurate and productive representations of archaeology could be developed within the Star Wars franchise are provided.