Edgar J. Banks
- Forgotten Indiana Jones was man of many mysteries
By GARY CORSAIR, DAILY SUN
EUSTIS The life of turn-of-the-century archaeologist Dr. Edgar J.
Banks, who retired to Eustis, remains cloudy 62 years after his
death, even though numerous museums and universities treasure ancient
Babylonian artifacts he unearthed.
"I call him `The Forgotten Indiana Jones,'" says Dr. Ewa Wasilewska,
associate professor of the University of Utah's Department of
Anthropology, who is writing a biography of Banks. "His story has
every possible mystery, from Hollywood to New York."
Separating fact from fiction is difficult. Very little has been
written about the adventurer who looked for the Ark of the Covenant,
climbed Mount Ararat in search of Noah's Ark, and left behind an
impressive array of artifacts.
"Edgar J. Banks' contributions and significance to Central Florida is
interesting and baffling at the same time," says Florida State
University assistant professor Kathy Clark. "The truly interesting
part of getting to know or trying to get to know Edgar J. Banks
is that many of the pieces of his story as it relates to his life and
work while residing in Eustis, Fla., are either somewhat unknown,
possibly misrepresented or just local lore."
The following facts are irrefutable: Banks excavated Bismya (the
ancient city of Adab) during an expedition sponsored by the
University of Chicago in 1903-04; he sold thousands of artifacts
after returning to the States; and he spent several years lecturing
and writing books and magazine articles.
And he made motion pictures with famed director Cecil B. DeMille.
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