Perspectives

Perspectives

Dr. Rex Garniewicz

The Coastal Discovery Museum is honored to be a partner in presenting the third annual Arkhaios Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Film Festival. The films selected for this festival tell both a local and a global story, inspiring us to look at the roots of our civilization and to better understand people from other cultures around the world.  This year’s films are also of such tremendous quality, that they really do bring both past and present cultures to life before our eyes.

One of the things that makes Hilton Head Island so special is our sense of place, not just the island ecosystem, but also the way that people have interacted with the environment over millennia and continuing up until today.  As I watched many of these films, I was reminded of how we should also think of ourselves from a global perspective and let our future be informed by our past.

Stories that reveal the perseverance of people and cultures, their accomplishments in art and technology, and the fascinating work that archaeologists do to decode our history at sites around the world, prompt us to think about how humans around the world are interconnected.  That in so many ways we are more alike than we are different.  These stories which enlighten us about how the past can also inform a better present.

As an archaeologist, I have always been intrigued by the thrill of discovery, by uncovering the secrets of ancient artifacts.  As an anthropologist I am fascinated by other cultures; how they have come up with innovative solutions to a wide variety of problems.  As a museum director, I also seek to find ways for new audiences to truly enjoy learning about our past.  One of the truly great things about the Arkhaios Film Festival is that it combines all of this into an event that is unparalleled in the United States.  We should be extremely proud that our community hosts the best archaeology film festival in the country, an event that should not be missed!​

Dr. Rex Garniewicz
President and CEO
Coastal Discovery Museum

Dr. Steven Smith     
 
This is the third year that the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology has supported and happily participated in the Arkhaios Film Festival and we are just as excited as the first year.  As a member of the jury, I can testify that the quality of the Arkhaios films, both in cinematography and cultural content, continue each year to improve- and this year, they are outstanding. 

One theme that permeates many of the films in Arkhaios this year is that we are losing our cultural heritage at an increasingly rapid rate, largely due to human agency.  Archaeologists and anthropologists across the globe are working under pressure, and in a salvage mode, to preserve smaller and smaller remaining fragments of past cultures before they are lost.  At the same time, the technological tools of the trade are becoming increasingly sophisticated such that we are able to extract more useful and amazing data from less.  Archaeologists still rely on picks, shovels, and trowels, but, computers and remote sensing technologies are changing the game.  It is clear that future archaeologists are going to have to rely more heavily on scientists from other disciplines, who can operate and interpret the machineries of the 21st century.

Once again, I ask you to please join us at Arkhaios 2015 to enjoy, contemplate, and discuss these fascinating films.  While here, be sure to thank Jean Guilleux for creating, masterminding, and organizing the Arkhaios Film Festival.  It takes time, patience, and energy to make such an event successful.  Jean has once again demonstrated his passion to disseminate archaeological knowledge through film.  Great job Jean!  I close with this quote by one of my favorite directors, Alfred Hitchcock:  “A good film is when the price of dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.”  Come to Hilton Head, get a great dinner, see stunning films, and you can send the babysitter to the beach.  It’s well worth it.​

Dr. Steven Smith
University of South Carolina, College of Arts and Sciences
Director, Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA)