Examining relationships between performance and archaeology in the science fiction television series Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007), this essay explores the show's dual representation of Mesopotamia as a theater of archaeological activity and geopolitical conflict. Employing archaeological exploration as a pretext for military action and adventure, Stargate SG-1 raises troubling questions about the long history of archaeological and military collaboration in the region and, moreover, archaeology's role in the political and cultural tensions in Iraq today. SG-1 offers a symbolic perspective of the war in Iraq by dramatizing the ways archaeology has been conscripted into justificatory narratives for the invasion and occupation of ancient and contemporary Mesopotamia.

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