VES Lifetime Achievement Award: Steven Spielberg

With his ‘Raiders’ films, Steven Spielberg has probably done more for archaeology than anybody since King Tut. Scarcely an issue of Smithsonian goes to press that I do not find myself indebted to him: Spielberg, that is, not Tut, though I’m also grateful to the boy king: Tut, not Spielberg. Our readers love archaeology. Take, for example, the cover story of our (December 2007) issue, in which we explore the claim by Ethiopian Christians that the Ark of the Covenant — yes, that Ark of the Covenant — was transported to Ethiopia nearly 3,000 years ago and remains there to this day, in the city of Aksum, where it is kept in a small chapel guarded by a lone monk, the only individual allowed to see it. The story has occasioned an outpouring of enthusiastic letters and emails from readers, a response that undoubtedly owes as much to Mr. Spielberg as to our telling of it. No wonder that in our 35th anniversary issue, November 2005, we celebrated his contribution to the creative arts by including him as one of our ’35 Who Made a Difference.'”

Carey Winfrey is editor of Smithsonian Magazine.

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