Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
4:30 pm EDT
Monday, October 19, 2020

Digging up history

Did you know that the inspiration for the Indiana Jones character retired in Eustis? That’s right. Edgar James Banks, a novelist, American diplomat and antiquarian, discovered the City of Eustis during one of his many lecturing trips in 1921, and liked it so much that he decided to retire here. 

During his career, Banks was an antiquities enthusiast and entrepreneurial archaeologist who focused on artifacts from the final days of the Ottoman Empire. He bought hundreds of Ottoman cuneiform tablets and resold them to museums, universities and libraries across the U.S. He also had a book published in 1912 about his excavations in the ancient Sumerian city of Adab, located in what is now Iraq. In the book he recalls “lively” stories of his excavations and discoveries. 

Edgar Banks died in Eustis in 1945 at age 79. You can find many exhibits of Banks’s discoveries in the Eustis Historical Museum.