A breezy, anecdotal account of ""curiosities"" -- antiquities, memorabilia, etc. -- the offbeat stuff people can't resist collecting, by a former British archaeologist (now at Colonial Williamsburg) who conveys an infectious enthusiasm for the potsherds of civilization. A collector with taste and refinement, if more historical than common sense, Hume bemoans the destruction of anything (one wonders will some future preservationist fight against leveling a Doggy Diner?) on the theory that every bit and piece represents an irreplaceable unit in the artistic, technological, aesthetic and commercial progress of mankind. A gaudy Victorian jubilee mug may not exactly qualify as a museum piece but, as Hume tells it, it probably does say as much about us as the Elgin marbles.