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Archaeologists dust off documentaries for film festival.

Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

Armchair archaeologists dig it: The first ever international archaeology film festival to be held in North America takes place July 16 through 19 at Eugene's McDonald Theater.

An archaeology film festival? No, that's not old movies dug up from the ruined vaults of Hollywood studios. It's more like the Discovery Channel run amok, taking you via the magic of film and video to a spectacular dig in Zeugma, Turkey, or a cave full of phosphorescent human skulls in Honduras.

The Archaeology Channel's International Film and Video Festival was put together by Eugene archaeologist Richard Pettigrew. He founded the nonprofit Archaeological Legacy Institute - the umbrella organization behind the Archaeology Channel, a Web site - in 1999 as a way of popularizing the knowledge dug up by his colleagues around the world.

"It was time we shared what we have learned about archaeology with everyone else," he explained. "I got tired of having my reports sitting on dusty shelves where no one would see them."

Pettigrew put the word out to archaeologists that he wanted to hold a film festival, and soon had 64 films and videos submitted from 19 countries.

The best 20 of them will be shown on the big screen at the McDonald; the rest will be available for viewing at a "video bar."

The Web site - www. - promotes archaeology. "The festival is like the Archaeology Channel emerging from cyberspace into the real world in front of a live audience," he said.

The films run the gamut from straight documentaries of digs to dramas and computer animations and simulations.

In the broadest sense, Pettigrew said, archaeology is not about ruins and artifacts being dug from the ground, but rather about humanity itself.

"Archaeology is about the residue of humanity. We produce residue every day of our lives. People can study it - and do study it."

Here are some typical offerings:

One of the more straightforward films to be shown, "The Last Days of Zeugma," details international archaeologists' rushed efforts to save spectacular Greek and Roman art work from the unexplored ruins of a large, wealthy city. The site was soon to be flooded by a Turkish hydro-electric dam under construction. The movie will be shown at 9 p.m. July 16.

"Ground Zero/Sacred Ground," a nine-minute 1998 animated short, has won a laundry list of awards, from firsts at the Humboldt International Film Festival and Marin County National Festival of Short Films to Best Director at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. It explores the relationship between ancient petroglyphs and the atomic bomb tests at the Trinity Site. The film will be shown at 9:14 p.m. July 18.

Parts 2 and 5 of "A Kalahari Family" document 50 years of work by anthropologist John Marshall with the bushmen of Nyae Nyae in Namibia. Part 2, "End of the Road," looks at the settlement of the nomadic bushmen at a government administrative center; part 5, "Death by Myth," looks at the impact on the tribe of cultural tourism. Part 2 will be shown at 7:42 p.m. July 17; part 5 will be shown at 7:39 p.m. July 18.

Admission is $25 for the entire festival, which spans three evenings and all day July 19; one-day tickets are $6 daily, $10 on July 19.

Keynote speaker for the festival will be French archaeologist Jean Clottes, the world's leading authority on prehistoric rock art. He will talk on "Rock Art: Communicating With People, With Spirits and With Modern Times" at 8:20 p.m. July 16.

Brian Fagan, an archaeologist with the University of California, Santa Barbara, will talk at 7 p.m. July 19.

In addition, the festival will offer daylong guided field trips to outlying archaeological areas from the McKenzie River and Fall Creek to the Oregon Coast. The field trips cost $15 per person and require a film festival ticket as well.

For more information on field trips and the festival generally, visit www.


The film "Etnias," a study of a group of people in Peru, is one of 64 films and videos representing work from five continents that will be shown during The Archaeology Channel's International Film and Video Festival at Eugene's McDonald Theater. Archaeology Film Festival A feathered head dress is shown in "Etnias," about an ethnic group in Peru. "The festival is like the Archaeology Channel emerging from cyberspace into the real world in front of a live audience." - RICHARD PETTIGREW, EUGENE ARCHAEOLOGIST
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Title Annotation:Festivals
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 6, 2003
Next Article:Sound bites.

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