Finders keepers : a tale of archaeological plunder and obsession

by Craig Childs

Paper Book, 2010



Call number

CC175 .C47 2010


New York : Little, Brown and Co., c2010.


Beyond what most people think about archaeology--with its cleanly numbered dates, and discoveries--lies a vibrant and controversial realm of scientists, thieves, and contested land claims. Here, naturalist and adventurer Childs explores the field's transgressions against the cultures it tries to preserve, and pauses to ask: To whom does the past belong? Written in his trademark lyrical style, this book carries readers directly into his adventures and discoveries, lifting the curtain on the ethical dilemmas and dark side of archaeology. It is a book about man and nature, remnants and memory, a dashing tale of crime and detection--in other words, a ghost story.--From publisher description.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Groovybaby
When I picked this book up I thought it would be full of dates and times and hard facts about missing art around the world, it's not but after reading it I'm not disapointed.
This book is more about the spiritual connection we all feel to objects of a certain age and why we feel the need to possess
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and own such things.
I think the greatest thing I take away from reading this book is the thought that perhaps some things of antiquity are better unfound. Artifacts that have lasted thousands of years on thier own just might not be better off in the "safe keeping" vaults of the modern world. Until we, (as collective 'modern man') learn to care for the things we already have dug up, perhaps we should just leave what's buried well enough alone.
A not a lot of factual data but a great little "makes you think" book.
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LibraryThing member untraveller
Read while at Camp Sivu...good, a bit redundant, and lots of what the book jacket calls 'lyrical prose'. Mostly, composed of pretty elementary ideas, but good for the novice. Interestingly enough (at least for me), the author continues my belief in the concept that I've never met or read an
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archaeologist I'd want to hang out with. Same with Dude Craig.
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LibraryThing member shelbycassie
So much enjoyed this book! I may have found a new favorite author! Lots of things to think about with archaeology. Gave me a lot to think about! Looking forward to his other books.
LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
Interesting, but not particularly pleasant to read. For most of the first part, I felt like the author was scolding me and everyone else who's interested in archaeology. Later, he went on to broader views - but it's still objecting to both digging stuff up (because it destroys the full context) and
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(in one side mention) using various technologies to study things without digging them up (because we humans are all about touch and can't learn much from just looking). He talks to archaeologist, curators, pot-hunters, private collectors, and people who are digging up their own ancestors' stuff to sell - and appreciates all of them, but doesn't agree with them. His final conclusion is that he (still) wants to leave everything where it is, let it rot or be stolen or whatever as long as he's not the one to take it out of the ground. I really don't understand that choice, despite the whole book talking about it - it doesn't make sense to me. I kept getting glimpses of understanding and then he'd talk about the next thing and it stopped making sense again. I'm glad I read it, I guess - it was an interesting exposure to a lot of points of view - but I didn't get a lot out of it and I don't think I'm interested in rereading.
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LibraryThing member mapg.genie
Childs is an amazing storyteller. He combines his extensive research with his personal experiences interspersed to produce this deep, thought-provoking masterpiece. He discusses where artifacts are found, how they are retrieved, how they are stored, and he takes this story to the international
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level. He shares information about looters/looting, the black market, police raids, private collectors, archeologists, public institutions, the illegal and the legal, the importance of provenance, and the ethics involved. And, he shares his opinions.
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Original publication date


Physical description

x, 274 p.; 25 cm


0316066427 / 9780316066426


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