Friday, May 26, 2017

Just the Facts: Book Discussion Recap from May 25

Thunderstorms in May? A solid week of overcast skies and rain? Is this really the beginning of summer? Many thanks to the thirteen people who braved the elements to attend the book discussion. Their presence, as always, was much appreciated.

The book discussed was Lives in Ruins: archeologists and the seductive lure of human rubble by Marilyn Johnson. In the book, the author provides an overview of the current state of archeology. When most of us think of archeology, we think of Indiana Jones, swashbuckling his way through jungles, deserts and bad guys to gather some archeological treasure. Today, Jones would be considered a looter, not an archeologist (although most male archeologists own both a fedora and a whip.) Where an object is found is as important as the object itself. To remove it from its context is to lose its history. Archeologists today are low paid, if they can find employment at all, and work in, at best, unpleasant and often dangerous environments. The author covers the many uses archeology is employed in today, from searching for ancient sites to crime investigation to making sure the latest strip mall or housing development is not destroying an ancient village or burial ground. One such investigation uncovered the largest unknown Revolutionary War cemetery in upstate New York. Our discussion was animated and interesting and covered many aspects of the science, but seemed to focus mostly on ancient treasures such as the Elgin Marbles that were seized from poorer countries for display in richer ones. Should they, in our more “enlightened” times, be returned?

Our next meeting will be on June 22nd, 2017. The book to be discussed, one of my favorites, is Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the sterilization of Carrie Buck by Adam Cohen, is available at the Circulation Desk. All are welcome.

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