The Journey of a Star Wars Archaeologist

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Some of us have a passion for archaeology. Even though in reality, it usually isn’t as exciting as Indiana Jones movies would like us to think, there is something about uncovering remains of forgotten settlements and traces of people who lived there. And imagine what if you could just go and uncover not only remains from the time of Roman Empire, but remains from the time of the Galactic Empire. Not only to dig in the desert for ruins of an Egyptian house, but for the remains of Tatooine moisture farm.

You may not believe it, but there is one person on our planet who has done just that.

Dr. David West Reynolds is both an archaeologist and a Star Wars author. He has been writing articles for the Star Wars Insider for years and some of the Star Wars Visual Dictionaries and similar reference books are his work. In 1995, he did something that most fans would envy him more than being a Star Wars bestselling author: he journeyed to Tunisia in order to find and uncover the location of the original film set from A New Hope.

How did it happen? Well, nearly twenty years after the premiere of Star Wars, Dr. Reynolds had learned that the original set of Luke Skywalker’s moisture farm (as well as other places from Tatooine) had been lost. After the filming had ended, nobody cared about the sites anymore, and they had been left to their fate. And since nobody really cared, the locations themselves became forgotten, and ever-shifting sands of Sahara took care of the rest. How powerful nature can still be, reclaiming what humans have abandoned, eh?

Dr. Reynolds, with the mindset of a proper archaeologist, became interested in finding out whether the locations could still be found and whether anything was there. It took him quite a lot of work, but eventually, he succeeded in finding not only the place, but also the remains of the original set.

His journey has been documented and briefly reported to the public – but now, many years after, Dr. Reynolds has decided to publish the whole story. In a Kickstarter campaign, he has funded a project to make a full-length documentary, including all the video he had filmed back in 1995 as well as putting in all the information and telling everything about his journey.

The Kickstarter campaign has already reached its intended goal, which means we should definitely see the documentary being made, which is good news! Still, if you want to contribute and help making the project better, or claim any of the rewards offered in the campaign (from posters and photographs to “real Tatooine sand” from the location), you can do so until 27th July on the project’s website at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1863512350/the-archaeology-of-star-wars-journey-to-tatooine/.

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Rostislav Kurka
Rostislav is a Protestant theologian and a self-trained Sith, counting Jan Hus, Darth Revan and Darth Traya among his main influences. He hails from the hundred-towered city of Prague, where he had spent a large part of his life creating worlds and inspiring young generations to roleplay. His involvement in organising children's camps led him to accidentally writing a Lord of the Rings musical, which made him temporarily famous, and a Three Musketeer-Jedi fanfilm, which didn't. He has recently moved to the frozen waste of Finland, because that's it, the Rebels are there.