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

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Many people may consider archaeology a romantic field of work, thanks in part to the fictional Indiana Jones or just the interesting discoveries archaeologists make. But Marilyn Johnson points out (time and again) in her new book that the profession promises little in the way of job security or income. Working conditions are usually unpleasant, to say the least, and precious finds often don’t get the preservation they deserve, thanks to lack of funds and/or lack of interest. Government or business needs tend to win out, and sources of information about the past just gets swept away.

Still, those who love the work continue to forge ahead, and Johnson profiles several who even work other jobs to support their passions. She tags along with a number of working archaeologists and even gets to do a little digging herself as she explores why people continue to pursue and stick with the career. One woman worked as a cleaning lady in stately homes so she could fund her work in underwater archaeology in Rhode Island. Lives in Ruins provides an interesting and informative window into the real lives of the people who piece together our past, and it reminds us all how valuable their work is.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 288 pages
Publisher Harper
Publish Date 2014-Nov-11
ISBN 9780062127181 Buy this Book
Issue February 2015
Category Science & Nature


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