Pop-Culture Database

This Google Spreadsheet contains a list of more than 500 examples from popular culture in which reference is made to the Pre-Columbian past. In structuring this data, the type and quantity of information provided for each entry was selected with an eye to the functionality of the sheet as a whole—namely its sortability and the use of keyword searches—while maintaining as compact a presentation as possible. Notes related to each column category are provided below.

As with all Google Spreadsheets, this one is filterable and sortable (click link for detailed instructions). Using Sort, you can organize the rows in alphabetical or numeric order by the contents of each column. For example, you can show all entries chronologically, or organize them by media type, country of origin, or language. Use a Filter to view only the rows that interest you. You can also search by keyword(s) using Ctrl-F (PC) or ⌘-F (Mac) to bring up the Find search bar. In the future, it is planned to add an additional column of keywords so that entries can be tagged with the names of specific cultures, monuments, or individuals that might not be otherwise mentioned but would be of interest as possible filters or search terms.

Year

  • Only the earliest completed instance of any title is included in the list and subsequent versions in the same media type (e.g. reissues, redubbed or recut films, etc.) are omitted. An exception to this is remakes, in which the entirety has been completely redone anew.
  • In entries that span multiple years, such as full television or comic book series, the full date range has been given.

Media Type

  • The number of unique terms has been limited. Thus, the term “comic book” encompasses graphic novels, manga, etc.
  • While multiple versions in the same media (e.g. reissues) have been omitted, instances of adaptation into different media (e.g. a novel being made into a movie, or a movie being spun-off into a television series) have been included as separate entries, and a note is included with each entry.

Country

  • Although it is recognized that many entries were produced with international cooperation, only the principal country associated with the original version is listed. In instances where two countries appear to have been equal contributors or it was impossible to determine which one was principal, both have been listed.

Language

  • Although it is recognized that many entries contain multiple languages, in most cases only the primary language of the original version is given to facilitate sortability. 

Title

  • Titles of individual stories, poems, or episodes are given in quotation marks. Titles of books and movies are given in italic.
  • As far as is possible, titles are provided in the language of the initial version, with English translations as well as variant titles (“aka,” or “also known as”) provided in the Notes column to facilitate keyword searches.

Title of Series, Volume, Magazine, or Album

  • When the entry is a short story, poem, episode, song, or other fragment that was published or released as part of a larger work, the series, volume, magazine, or album title is given in this column.
  • When the entire (television or comic book) series or music album relates to Pre-Columbian civilization, only that title is given (in this column), rather than separate entries being made for each individual element (episode, song, etc.).
  • When there are multiple elements (episodes, issues, etc.) that include references to Pre-Columbian civilization in a series that otherwise does not, or when there are significant authorial differences between the individual elements, each is listed as a separate entry.  

Number in Series

  • The issue number of a magazine or comic book or the episode number from a television series is entered in this column. For entries that encompass entire series the total number of issues or episodes is provided.

Creator (Author / Director / Artist)

  • It is acknowledged that many entries involve the collaborative efforts of numerous contributors. However, in the interest of keeping this spreadsheet as compact as possible, only the principal creator(s) have been included for each entry.
  • When there is need to distinguish the roles of creators, these are provided in parentheses after the names.
  • For films in which the plot touches on the Pre-Columbian, both the director and the writer(s) are listed, but when the Pre-Columbian is incidental (e.g. set dressing), only the director is listed.

Publisher / Distributor

  • It is acknowledged that often many entities are involved in the creation and dissemination of complex works such as movies and television series. However, in the interest in keeping the spreadsheet as compact as possible, only the principal publisher or distributor of the original version is provided here.

Link(s)

  • Links leading to sources for the information included in this spreadsheet, and, in many case, much further information, are provided for each entry.

Notes

  • This column includes a variety of notes, such as indicating related entries (e.g. adaptations), providing alternate titles to aid searches, and pointing to the Pre-Columbian references if they are less than obvious (e.g. use as set dressing).

Thanks to Amanda Gannaway, Alanna Radlo-Dzur, Franco Rossi, Leobardo Álvarez, and Leonardo Ruiz-García for bringing a number of examples to the attention of the author. And to Julian Adoff for assistance with research and data entry.

Notice an error? Know of an example that isn’t included here? Have a suggestion to improve this resource? Your feedback is welcome! Please contact the author: andrewfinegold(at)gmail(dot)com.