This chapter develops the central thesis of Chapter 1, namely that paramilitary archaeology is a means of invoking then containing dangerous pasts as an imaginative extension of U.S. foreign policy. Aired in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm, Stargate (1994) translates the colonial milieu of 1930s Egyptology to the science fictional terrain of Abydos and the battle against Ra. But the shift to the small screen's televisual identity is symptomatic of the deepening complexities of representing geopolitical activity in the region. Just as archaeology passes from a source of wonder into a vehicle for military adventure, the show's ideological commitments to global (read intra-galactic) security become increasingly destabilized, particularly in the Mesopotamian-themed episodes aired after 9/11. The mercurial figure of Babylon offers a counterpoint to the film's overlay of archaeology and militarism, and indeed to the rhetoric of military stewardship at the heart of the "military-archaeology complex." The shifting representation of Mesopotamian antiquity in SG-1's ten-year run (1997-2007) offers powerful cultural criticism of the show's own premise.
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