Book Review: Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson

Author: Marilyn Johnson
TitleLives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble
Narrator: Hilary Huber
Publication Info: Tantor Audio, 2014

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.

Rating: ****