Lives in Ruins

Lives in Ruins

Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble

eBook - 2014
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The author of The Dead Beat and This Book is Overdue! turns her piercing eye and charming wit to the real-life avatars of Indiana Jones--the archaeologists who sort through the muck and mire of swamps, ancient landfills, volcanic islands, and other dirty places to reclaim history for us all.

Pompeii, Machu Picchu, the Valley of the Kings, the Parthenon--the names of these legendary archaeological sites conjure up romance and mystery. The news is full of archaeology: treasures found (British king under parking lot) and treasures lost (looters, bulldozers, natural disaster, and war). Archaeological research tantalizes us with possibilities (are modern humans really part Neandertal?). Where are the archaeologists behind these stories? What kind of work do they actually do, and why does it matter?

Marilyn Johnson's Lives in Ruins is an absorbing and entertaining look at the lives of contemporary archaeologists as they sweat under the sun for clues to the puzzle of our past. Johnson digs and drinks alongside archaeologists, chases them through the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and even Machu Picchu, and excavates their lives. Her subjects share stories we rarely read in history books, about slaves and Ice Age hunters, ordinary soldiers of the American Revolution, children of the first century, Chinese woman warriors, sunken fleets, mummies.

What drives these archaeologists is not the money (meager) or the jobs (scarce) or the working conditions (dangerous), but their passion for the stories that would otherwise be buried and lost.

Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, 2014
ISBN: 9780062127228
0062127225
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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k
KitShade17
Jun 28, 2017

I'm mostly through with this book and really like it. It's not in-depth enough for people that want to know the specifics of Archeology but it does shine light on the problems that archeologists, and archeology as a whole, are facing. I would recommend it.

c
cardigramma
May 22, 2017

As a collector of facts, I found this book really interesting. A treasure trove of behind the scenes stories about archeologists and their digs.

r
rationallady
Jan 28, 2015

There is very little archeology beyond a beginning level here. The book was well written, just not what I expected. It would be a good read for a high school or college student interested in becoming an archeologist as it shows what their work is like.

s
stephaniedchase
Sep 28, 2014

Many a librarian knows Marilyn from her book on our profession, THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE. As in that title, Marilyn takes us into many different aspects of a profession, this time archaeology, with the same skill, curiosity, and respect. Her skill at sharing her adventures and the adventures of her subjects is fantastic: engaging, readable, and leaving the reader hunting for more information. This is not meant to be an overview of anything and everything to do with the field of archaeology, but rather a look at some of the people and work that make this profession a labor of love and the object of fascination.

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