"STONES, BONES, AND PETROGLYPHS: Digging into Southwest Archaeology" by Susan E. Goodman

"STONES, BONES, AND PETROGLYPHS: Digging into Southwest Archaeology"

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This scrapbook chronicle of an archaeological field trip combines photo album with scientific inquiry, following a format identical to Goodman's previous venture, Bats, Bugs, and Biodiversity (1995). Packing water bottles and smelling of sunscreen, a group of eighth graders from Hannibal, Missouri, embark on a field trip much more than a bus ride away to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, aiming to dig up the past of ancestral Puebloans (formerly called Anasazi), who lived on mesas and canyon tops of the Southwest desert over 700 years ago. Corn-grinding tools masquerade as stones, an ancient fingerprint hides in the mortar of bricks, a small animal skull poses the puzzle--pet or food source? Inklings of a way of life unfold for the participants and readers, as the adults emphasize that it's not ""what you find, it's what you find out."" The dialogue sounds scripted and stiff; information and theories are detailed in a more successful narrative form. Speculation as to the fate of the ancestral Puebloans is addressed in periodic insets titled ""Why Did They Leave?"" Interspersed with sweeping full-color postcard views of canyon and kava are more candid snapshots. Readers will vicariously follow along as the joking junior archaeologists piece together fragments of history both scientifically and experientially.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Atheneum