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Where the plow slices, the bulldozer pushes, and the groundhog burrows,"" writes the author of this study of archeological researches in Colonial Virginia, ""fragments of the past become scattered over the ground, where they wait to be picked up and interpreted."" Here, as picker-upper, excavator and interpreter, the author tells of archeological finds on Roanoke Island (the ""Lost Colony""), and at Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown, and also of life in these settlements. Of Roanoke little is known, for in 1587 the colony, founded in 1583-4, vanished, the colonists leaving few remains and no clue as to their fate. Jamestown (1607) was more fortunate. ""Nothing but a mosquito could really want to call Jamestown home"", but in spite of the ravages of climate, disease, insects, inefficiency and Indians the colonists survived, leaving archeological treasures in the form of artifacts: bits of armor and firearms, broken glass and pottery, etc. At Williamsburg, capital of the Colony, founded in 1693, and at Yorktown, the inhabitants not only survived but flourished: here are found their tobacco-mansions, some intact, many ruined, and a collection of 18th-century artifacts ""unrivalled in the world"". The reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg from these remains and from written records is in itself an archeological triumph. Although the author of this readable and well-documented book insists that ""it is not a textbook for would-be archeologists"", it will make an excellent reader and gift-book for beginning students, and will appeal also to professional American archeologists and to backyard diggers from Virginia to Alaska.

Publisher: Knopf