eBook Ì Lives in Ruins â Hardcover Read

eBook é Lives in Ruins ã Marilyn Johnson

Lives in Ruins 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 allPompeii 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 It was nice to read a book about archaeology after a long time but while it was nice to go down memory lane this was not a book about actual archaeology but the experiences the author has after interviewing a couple of archaeologists while is good that an author is generating interest in the field of archaeology I feel like this book perpetuated the myth of the adventurer archaeologist and and the same time can be depressing in its economic escape regarding the archaeologists interviewed It gives a couple of real insights into the career but then gets lost in it's own hype 3 stars just because I loved hearing archaeological jargon again

Marilyn Johnson ã Lives in Ruins kindle

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 archaeol Growing up I wanted to be three things an archaeologist a paleontologist and an astronaut not necessarily in that order In fact when I was planning on what University to attend I looked long and hard at those with established Classics programs particularly the schools that credited a field 'dig' component In the end I chose a different career path for a lot of different reasons but that passion remainsIt's that passion for the nitty gritty dirt under the fingernails approach to the subject that led me to Lives in Ruins Archeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble by Marilyn Johnson This is not a dry textbook or a clinical study of the subject Instead it's a real life account of a woman who chose to temporarily live her life in the trenches studying sweating and starving alongside the professionals It's an absolutely enthralling read and one that will have you itching to get out there and dig despite what some of those professionals have to say about amateursOne on the first things that pleasantly surprised me about the read is how much attention Johnson pays to pop culture archaeologists and how much credit she gives them for their role in supporting and furthering the field Jean Auel author of the Earth's Children series gets a lot of credit for her diligence and authenticity as a writer as well as for her role in changing the public face of archaeology insisting that scholars and archaeologists Romance the public Let them know that what you are doing is not only important but fun exciting and fascinating Sarah Milledge Nelson who I was previously unaware of get some credit as well for incorporating real discoveries and real artifacts in her teaching novels and for founding RKLOG Press as a home for archaeological fictionAlong the same lines Indiana Jones is honored and vilified in eual measure Johnson is honest about how many archaeologists were drawn to the field by his adventures and how many sport a fedora and bullwhip because of him He gets full credit for the exposure he provided the field and while he is vilified for looting and destroying so many tombs and ruins his actions are surprisingly defended within the context of standards and practices of the 1930sOn that note Johnson has a lot to say about amateur archaeologists looting and the illicit antiuities trade which is worth a staggering 6 7 billion per year She points out that looted objects lose all archaeological meaning as they have no context can't be accurately dated and lose the power to speak Her example of an ancient coin found in the ground is perfect In context it can help date an entire settlement but as a piece of loot it's just a coin In terms of amateurs she presents a balanced sort of view contrasting the advice of professionals to just don't do it with the reality of what honest diligent careful amateurs can add to the field of studyAs for those professionals Johnson points a stark portrait of their reality She doesn't romanticize the work at all and is honest about the harsh truths of low wages staggering unemployment rates corrupt regimes the potential for violence the lack of health care and the physical risks It's dirty dangerous work and often thankless as well However she counters that harsh reality with the passion and excitement these archaeologists share their love for the work and their delight in discovering and revealing new elements of history It's definitely sobering stuff for anybody thinking of a career in the field but sometimes passion does outweigh physical rewardsAs a life long Clive Cussler fan I was delighted to discover that Johnson dedicates a significant portion of the book to detailing the value and the importance of underwater archaeology We're constantly hearing about melting ice caps and rising sea levels but we rarely think of what that means for the study of archaeology Sea levels have risen an astounding 300 feet since the age of the glaciers which means a lot of history has been submerged Sadly this is neither glorious nor profitable than land based digs and Johnson shares the story of an archaeologist named Kathy who ran her own non profit underwater archaeology organization and was forced to finance her lab fees by cleaning houses for rich women with no tipsPerhaps most fascinating of all however is the amount of time that Johnson spends on what we don't generally think of as being archaeology Contract archaeology involving the study and excavation of construction sites is something I'd never thought much about It's a fascinating aspect of the science and one in which the archaeologists are constantly at odds with owners the government historical societies and activists Excavations are often forced to be uick and dirty and there's always pressure to let the wheels of commerce keep turning The most striking example she shares is the discovery of a Revolutionary War graveyard with the dig twice abandoned due to politics Hundreds of graves were discovered on a relatively small plot of land and there they remained for years unmarked and unacknowledged even as the property remained for saleCrime scene investigations are also covered where archaeologists are needed to help locate excavate and identify victims The amount of science and study that goes into determining a 100 year old body from a 10 year old murder victim is astounding with one investigator admitting to having dozens upon dozens of dead rats buried in her backyard so she could study and observe decomposition rates It's not just about buried bodies however Johnson also shares some sobering stories of archaeologists being called in to help locate and identify body parts and personal items as part of the World Trade Center clean upFinally in what is probably the best example of how far the field has come in terms of focus and respect Johnson lets us in on some military secrets She takes us overseas to the war zones of the Middle East and talks specifically about the destruction of historical sites such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon Much of that destruction could have been avoided with just a little background information and she reveals the new role archaeologists are taking in advising where not to target or where not to march all in the name of historical preservationWoven though all those facts and observations is the real life account of Johnson's own brief career as an archaeologist She went back to school paid to be part of several digs undertook rigorous training and lived alongside the men and women she writes about It makes for a very authentic hands on experience but still allows here to maintain a little professional detachment There's just as much 'how' and 'why' to be learned here as there is 'what' and that's precisely what makes Lives in Ruins such a well rounded enjoyable read Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

eBook Lives in Ruins

eBook Ì Lives in Ruins â Hardcover Read · 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 alOgists 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 mummiesWhat 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 lo This was really interesting Johnson was occasionally repetitive I get that archaeologists aren't paid much you can stop saying that but overall I thought this was an insightful look into a fascinating profession The book does a good job of covering many different kinds of archaeology though it was fairly US centered At first I didn't like the audiobook reader's voice but it grew on me As a plus I now know the correct pronunciation of neanderthal