The Mummy (1999) is a favorite amongst some of my archaeology friends. In this post, you will find the YouTube video of 4 archaeologists reacting to The Mummy (1999) trailer and a full transcript of the video.
YouTube Video Transcript
Here you will find the complete transcript of the video in the previous section. There are time stamps for every minute and hyperlinked references/citations.[00:00:00] Oh, that was painful.
The 1999 version of The Mummy is a favorite amongst some of my friends, so we decided to react to the trailer.
I’m Anya, and I am also an archaeologist. I am a paleoethnobotanist, so I study plants from archaeological sites. Um, I’m Adam. I’m a bioarchaeologist and forensic anthropologist, so I study human remains.
I’m Katie. I’m also an archaeologist and a paleoethnobotanist, so I also study plant remains and I do most of my work in the Andes. Where’s our
Egyptologist? I forgot to ask one of my Egyptology friends to come to this recording. However, my good friend Buck, who’s also an Egyptologist, helped me fact check some of the questions we had after the fact.
So if you’re curious what archaeologists think of the mummy, especially archaeologists who don’t study Egypt, keep watching.
A dig down in Thebes. [00:01:00] Jonathan, I think you’ve found something.
There is an ancient legend. Of a place known as the City of the Dead. They call it the doorway to hell. Where the
earliest pharaohs were sent to. Okay, this is my question, the first one, like, Don’t Egyptians have a concept of hell? Like, does, is that like, a translation? Like, I don’t know. I am not the right person to ask for that.
Yeah! Where’s our Egyptologist? I know, I’m sorry. I need to make a note of all the things we have to fact check. There wasn’t hell in the way we think of it in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, but there were outcomes that people wanted to avoid, like the idea of non existence. And also the timeline. We were like, this is something we feared for like 3, 000 years, and I’m like, I thought Egypt was older.
Like the civilizations they’re referencing to because that would be [00:02:00] like, what, a thousand B. C.?
Yeah, it’s gotta be a lot older than that. 3, 000
years ago was the collapse of the Bronze Age, and basically the end of the New Kingdom period and beginning of the Third Intermediate Period. And Ancient Egypt is far older than 3, 000 years.
We see dynasties starting even around 5, 000 years ago. But like, I don’t, I don’t know anything about Egypt.
I feel like we debunk all of, like, those conspiracy theorists that think that, like, archaeologists are all united in terms of, like, keeping information curated. Cause, like, I’m like, I don’t know anything about Egypt.
But that lock just doesn’t seem like… A thing that might have existed?
Ooh, that’s a good question. Ancient Egypt is actually home to some of the oldest locks, but they’re wooden door locks. And we wouldn’t see the Book of the Dead written in book form, it actually would be written in papyrus or even on walls or on coffins.
Did any of you get this feeling that when this movie came out, I feel like it sparked kind of a new wave of people interested in Egyptology? [00:03:00] And I don’t know if it was just my own friend group, but like it seemed like there was this huge wave after this. And it was very Egypt. specific. Yeah. Well, I want to go to Egypt.
I’m like, oh, okay.
I mean, this is one of those movies that has had such a like lasting impact because I was polling my students yesterday actually about how many of them have seen this and they’ve all seen this and they all like remember specifically that like one book. I don’t know if you guys remember this in Barnes and Noble that was like super beautiful.
Yeah. And like, I think it was like gold or something. Like it was just like, yeah. And we all just kind of had a moment. Oh yeah. Really sparked a
memory. I was about to bring those up. I feel like I saw a meme recently that was like if you had these books, you’re gay now.
Because if you don’t have this, this is the gay passport. Okay, so prove it to me, such this video, and prove it. Yeah, there’s like the Egyptology one. There was one. I remember there was one all about like the Cicely Mary Barker fairies, like, they were amazing. And the DK [00:04:00] Eyewitness books. I
love the DK witness books when I was a kid. Wait, what were those? They were like hate encyclopedias about different topics.
Yeah, like you had one for plants, you had one for like planes and stuff, and like just different subjects. I feel so cheated.
That is totally would have been my jam, but I don’t think my school library had those. Or if we do another one, we can just have story time as a part of the video.
Adam and I, we got cheated. So we need to relive that part of our childhood.
I’ll sit you down and I’ll read you a book.
We have to talk about, like, the field wear, too, because I think, like, it’s such an interesting aesthetic. Like, this time period. Like, versus what we saw last time with like, I guess, mid-century, like, the classic, you know, menswear thing, like, this one, like, oh my god, everyone’s outfits look
amazing. Oh my gosh, I would wear everything that Evelyn wears in this, [00:05:00] in this movie.
Like, this makes me want to just, like, It’s so good. And Brendan Fraser, like, I want that, I want all the leather. I mean, both of them, really. Like, all that leather. Oh my gosh. I feel like it’s also, like, very of the moment right now, like, the light academia. Like, kind of style. Like, it’s just, it’s so good.
Actually, Katie, I feel like the scarf you’re wearing, or tie, like, matches me. I am wearing…
Oh my god. I’m glad you all noticed. I am cosplaying, um, Evelyn. So, um, I tried. I don’t know if it’s 100 percent matched. Oh, that was so smart. It was the most achievable one. But if I were to pick a style icon, I think I would go with Brendan Fraser in this one because, like, I would wear everything that he wears in these films.
Just for the leather alone.
Just the leather, yeah. I mean, it definitely beats our, like, cargo pants and, like, REI shirts and whatever that we wear now. I do love it in this movie, no one gets dirty at all, and I’m like, the second I step onto a field site, especially if it’s gonna be, like, Egypt where it’s hot, [00:06:00] just…
And clearly they’re not wearing sunscreen because that stuff will turn into mud after a while.
Yes. And yet they have perfect skin. I’m sure there’s a hat somewhere. To be fair, a lot of it takes place at night. So…
Egypt. Are we going into battle? There’s something out there.
There’s nothing underneath that sand.
They came to uncover its secrets. Mummies, my good son. This is where they made the mummies. They sought Oh! Oh! Oh, that was painful.
I’ve been on field
sites where people have done that. No! Oh, uh huh.
That was like sympathetic pains watching somebody do that. It wasn’t a well, one of them was a boot, the other times it was just like shovels and dropping equipment.
Ugh. Oh no. Ugh.
I mean you can, you can reconstruct them, but at the same time. [00:07:00]
It’s like I know. Uh huh, yep.
That collective moment of pain.
Ugh, however, she’s so beautiful. I’m like, I don’t wear emblems for you too, so.
It’s treasure. And then there was light. Oh boy. Oh my God, it does exist. I think this may be the Book of the Dead.
Let’s not read from the book! You have unleashed a creature that we have feared for more than 3, 000 years. Whoa! He will regenerate. And no longer be the undead. I don’t
think I realized until just now how terrifying this movie was when it came out. Like, super fun, but like the wall of sand with his face and [00:08:00] things?
The CGI at the time was really good and terrifying for a kid.
Yeah. I would
never be able to watch it by myself. There were a couple of times because this thing would replay relatively often. I remember if I was by myself at home. Um, I would like turn it off the TV immediately because it was just too freaking scary like this and like Jurassic Park for some reason as a kid or like horror movies were like freaking me out.
Jurassic Park was scary. I mean, it’s still scary. I got nightmares. My parents were like, are you sure you want to watch this? I was like,
yeah, I’m fine. Okay, I have a nerdy, I have a nerdy fun fact about me because of Jurassic Park. So when I was, I don’t remember how old I was, but it was, I think it was the second or third movie.
There’s this one scene where the dinosaur comes in through the window of the house. Um, and I remember I saw that and I was little. I don’t know if the timing really matches up. I should figure it out. But it must’ve been like kindergarten, first grade. And I, ever since then, like, when I was a kid, I would always have to sleep with something [00:09:00] over my ear.
When I would sleep, like, if I were on my side, I had to have the blanket over my ear, because I was so afraid that a dinosaur would come in through my window at night and bite my ear off. So, when I was a kid,
I could not sleep unless, and like, I still do, like, I always have my ear covered when I sleep. Oh my god.
That being said, it’s my so funny. And that’s so sad.
It was really freaky. I think a lot of people got that fear, because I definitely, after seeing that movie, was terrified of bathroom stalls. And then Pulp
Fiction didn’t help at all, like. Oh yeah. No, no. It was creepy. Watching this as, like, an adult, like, and working in a place that has sand, I’m like, that’s, that’s terrifying.
And also, like, didn’t you get a warning? But not, like, I guess a weather warning, but I’m like, [00:10:00] I was like, oh man, that’s like, I was cringing when I was off from there, because I was like, ugh, that’s a lot of sand. But yep, you’re not dirty. Like, um. You just put a tarp over yourself, that fixes it.
No, that’s what they do in the movie. They literally just, like, put a tarp over themselves, I think.
Meanwhile, all I can think about are mud boogers. Essentially. Leaving all that in. Also the worst. Mud boogers.
We are in serious trouble. On May
7th Can you His powers are growing. Run! This just keeps getting better and better. To experience the adventure. It appears he’s already chosen his human sacrifice. That will live forever. He turns Okay, was there human sacrifice in Egypt?
That is an excellent [00:11:00] question for our Egyptology friend.
I don’t know. Were, were people like, buried with other people? Well yeah, I guess, I don’t know if this is true? That, like, when a king died, their servants were also killed and buried with him? Is that I always heard that.
I feel like that’s not a I don’t no offense.
That also feels fake. I don’t know. Fact check!
The evidence we do have for human sacrifice in ancient Egypt comes from the early dynastic periods amongst the elite, however, it wasn’t a common practice and it wasn’t a practice that kept persisting.
One thing I do have to say, like one of the few things that I remember from teaching this for like a couple weeks.
And we talked about the mummy is there’s no specificity of at all of like when it existed of like is it Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom, if you ask me the differences I will have no idea but I remember that they’re a thing and they’re very different because it was a very long time and this is kind of like Everything the entire few thousand years all squished into one.
Yeah, all of it. Yeah 3, 000 years ago. [00:12:00]
I mean, it’s not all that different from Jurassic Park then, right? There’s no… Yeah, true. True, true. It’s all
compressed. Wasn’t each, like, kingdom period also was, like, really long? Like, each actual period was, like, hundreds of years, right? Yeah. Yeah. Because, like, Cleopatra was more recent than a lot of the oldest stuff.
Is that right?
Yeah, somewhere… Yeah, I heard that she was closer to… Like the, the Napoleonic Wars than she was to the actual building of the Great
Pyramids. Yeah, I’ve seen figures like that too, which is wild. I don’t know, I feel like we have a tendency to think of archaeologists as a modern phenomenon, but like people have been looking back at the past, like their own past, and the past of other people, like, for thousands of years, too.
Ancient Egypt lasted for so long that, like, I don’t know. It’s just interesting to think about. That people have always been archaeologists, whether formally or not.
Whether with the outfits or changing outfits. Yeah, [00:13:00] exactly.
Bet they looked fire too. They really did. Turns me into a mummy, you’re the first one I’m coming after. Go! The scarabs. I know. Oh, the scarabs!
I was convinced for years that that was a real thing, so the first time I saw an actual dung beetle I was like, nope, nope, nope, nope.
Dung beetles don’t eat humans, especially ones that are alive, and they don’t even Bite humans. They prefer dung.
Smiti and I just did a video at Archaeoentomology, and I really wish that we had put, like, B roll of the scarabs at the beginning or something. Just some kind of, like, nod to it. Missed opportunity. Next time, we’ll do a short on humans. Yes.
It’s just so we can use that beetle.
Yeah, exactly! It’s so disappointing that they’re not real.
I mean, [00:14:00] like, uh, what is, like, the correlate supposed to be, like, Dermestid beetles? Like, there’s so much…
Yeah, I mean, we used to have Dermestid beetles in my old lab to process stuff that we’d take in. And they’re, they’re super chill, like, you can hold them in your hand, because all they care about is, like…
Old. Yeah. They’re just like, say they just wanna munch old stuff. But the first time I worked with them I was definitely thinking of this, that I was like, one of these is definitely gonna go under my skin and then start munching away.
The funny, random, random fact about domestic beetles, the biggest worry that you have to have if you have ’em in a lab is apparently they love, um, electrical wiring and like, uh.
Land networking and stuff. So that was the main thing. Like our, our main concern in that lab, having those rest beetles, it’s not like it would escape and start eating us or anything, uh, like old collections and things, but especially they were like, if they get into the wiring work, like they will eat all of it and we’ll have no internet in this entire building.
Oh wow. that’s also, that was a scary thought. , that’s almost scarier.[00:15:00]
Um, I don’t know if any of you have ever seen the original Mummy, but it definitely is. It’s a much more exciting rendition.
Wait, wait, wait. As a, as a tie in to that, I have all of the, all of the Universal Movie Monsters. Yes! Nice!
Ten points to you, Adam. I mean, you put in way more effort. I just have this t shirt I’m wearing.
I don’t know, it’s just a scarf. One thing they didn’t show in the movie, though, was the whole, like, The whole bookcase is tipping over on each other.
Honestly, that has caused a phobia in me. Anytime I go into any library like that, like that, I’m terrified that’s going to happen.
Yeah, that to me is [00:16:00] one of the most memorable scenes in the whole movie.
Just in terms of like the representation too, I remember like I don’t know, when we were growing up, some of us, um, like, being a nerd was, like, a bad thing, like, being a bookworm, and I remember, like, this movie, and I guess, uh, Beauty and the Beast as well, like, being a bookworm suddenly was, like, kind of cool, and kind of chic, and so, yeah, in terms of, like, just representing the people that are You know, nerdy little bookworms like, you know, Evelyn is definitely a, a great character.
The trailer doesn’t have, like, my, my personal favorite line, the, well actually two favorite lines, the I…am a librarian. Which is, of course, amazing. And the, You’re wondering, What is a place like me doing, In a girl like this. Like the cutest girl of all time.
Also representing the people that can’t handle their alcohol. [00:17:00] I know, she’s all of us. She really is. So relatable.
Thank you to our archaeologists for appearing in this video:
- Anya Gruber: www.anyaegruber.com (website) & https://www.sapiens.org/archaeology/archaeologist-connection-past/ (recent article)
- Katherine Chiou: http://kchiou.people.ua.edu (website) & http://archaeobotany.ua.edu (lab website)
- Adam Netzer Zimmer: https://people.umass.edu/azimmer (website) & https://twitter.com/acnzimmer (Twitter)
Thank you to our consulting Egyptologist, Brooke Norton, for fact-checking certain parts for us.
Also, thank you to Noor Hanania for editing this video!
If you enjoyed this post, check out my channel and other videos.