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Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the…
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Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble

by Marilyn Johnson

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OK. Kinda uneven.
  revliz | Jan 7, 2017 |
Joy's review: Johnson is out to profile the individuals that dedicate their lives to uncovering the past. She goes on digs and interviews all types of archaeologists. This is NOT a survey of important archaeology; it IS a very fun and entertaining read about the dedication, hard work, and persistence of the men and women who proudly pursue this profession. I enjoyed it a lot. ( )
  konastories | Nov 19, 2016 |
Serious subject infused with sense of humor by author. Great armchair primer of the world of archaeologists and archaeology. The book ends with 2 busloads of archaeologists traveling to Machu Picchu. I spent 2 incredible days at MP 30 years ago and thought it was the most magical place on earth. That these seasoned professionals felt the same way was heartwarming. And they saw it in 2013, when Cuzco and its surroundings were commercialized (I mean really, a KFC in Cuzco?!)-- not as "natural" as when I was there But I'm glad to hear it is still worth visiting. ( )
  bogopea | Jan 12, 2016 |
Johnson's book is a peek into the lives of archaeologists ranging from the expected academics working on notable sites to the more every day contract archaeologists working for little pay and a lot of love. There are even forensic archaeologists who use the tools of the trade to help solve crimes. By interviewing archaeologists and participating in classes, conferences, and field schools, Johnson exposes the reader to a wide variety of the practitioners of archaeology and their craft. I studied archaeology in college and thought of going into the field, but all the same I was surprised to read about people I know, including my college classmate Grant Gilmore. An excellent book about an endlessly fascinating (and undersupported) field of study.
Favorite Passages:
We think we know what archaeologists do, but, like librarians, they toil behind an obscuring stereotype. The Hollywood image of the dashing adventurer bears little resemblance to the real people who, armed with not much more than a trowel and a sense of humor, try to tease one true thing from the rot and rubble of the past. ( )
  Othemts | Dec 9, 2015 |
I learned that being an archeologist is a dirty job, requiring travel to some pretty unpleasant places and is very badly paid. It makes you appreciate the folks who devote their lives to digging up and discovering the past. Somehow I wished for more actually knowledge from this book; much of it concerns the hows and whens of the author following her subjects around--too focused on her rather than her subjects. ( )
1 vote gbelik | Oct 22, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062127187, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:35 -0400)

Examines "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"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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