Indiana Daily Student

Lecture offers insight about 'The Da Vinci Code'

An archeologist who excavates castles built during the Crusades will offer his commentary on Dan Brown's best-selling and controversial book "The Da Vinci Code." Michael Fuller, professor of archaeology at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, is scheduled to discuss his perspective at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures in a free lecture titled "'The Da Vinci Code,' Templars and Archaeology." The event is sponsored by the Central Indiana Society of the Archaeological Institute of America. \nFuller will discuss excavation of castle ruins of the Knights Templar and key characters in Brown's novel throughout Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. He plans to examine the evidence these locations provide about the Knights Templar, who are associated with the myth of the protection of the Holy Grail.\nFuller said he started excavating early Christian castles in the 1980s. He said the castle that provides the most evidence about the Knights Templar is the Castle of Famagusta on Cyprus. \n"I have a piece of evidence the book doesn't have with regards to the Knights Templar," Fuller said. "You'll have to come to the lecture to see what it is."\nFuller said Brown's novel builds on scholarly arguments and touches close to reality on many topics, but is not academically reliable. \n"It stretches things pretty badly," Fuller said. "It's a good murder mystery, though."\nFuller said he is excavating a castle in Eastern Europe, but the current political climate in the Middle East makes it nearly impossible to work in that area.\n"I wish I had a good castle I could safely work on in the Middle East," Fuller said. "If we were there now, we probably couldn't safely stay there."\nJudy Kirk, assistant director of the Mathers Museum, said "The Da Vinci Code" gained popularity because of its intriguing and popular topics.\n"Dan Brown manages to incorporate well-known images, like the painting of 'The Last Supper' and the 'Mona Lisa,'" Kirk said. "These are images people already know. To think there is a hidden message is fairly fascinating."\nKirk said she believes students will be interested in the lecture because it relates to popular culture.\n"I think they'll be interested ... also at a professional level. It's fascinating to hear from someone who travels the world and excavates ancient ruins."\nThe Mathers Museum is located at 416 N. Indiana Ave. Parking will be free during the event on the surrounding streets, and parking for those with IU permits and metered parking will be available at the McCalla School lot on the corner of Ninth Street and Indiana Ave. Special arrangements can be made for people with disabilities who wish to attend by calling the museum at 855-6873.

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