Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession [NOOK Book]

Overview

To whom does the past belong? Is the archeologist who discovers a lost tomb a sort of hero--or a villain? If someone steals a relic from a museum and returns it to the ruin it came from, is she a thief? Written in his trademark lyrical style, Craig Childs's riveting new book is a ghost story--an intense, impassioned investigation into the nature of the past and the things we leave behind. We visit lonesome desert canyons and fancy Fifth Avenue art galleries, journey throughout the Americas, Asia, the past and the...
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Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession

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Overview

To whom does the past belong? Is the archeologist who discovers a lost tomb a sort of hero--or a villain? If someone steals a relic from a museum and returns it to the ruin it came from, is she a thief? Written in his trademark lyrical style, Craig Childs's riveting new book is a ghost story--an intense, impassioned investigation into the nature of the past and the things we leave behind. We visit lonesome desert canyons and fancy Fifth Avenue art galleries, journey throughout the Americas, Asia, the past and the present. The result is a brilliant book about man and nature, remnants and memory, a dashing tale of crime and detection.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Childs (The Animal Dialogues) intermingles personal experiences as a desert ecologist and adventurer with a journalistic look at scientists, collectors, museum officials, and pot hunters to explore what should happen to ancient artifacts. Questioning whether artifacts should be left in place, Childs argues that although surface surveys and electronic imaging permit study of buried objects without digging, that reliance on technology risks the loss of the "physical connection to the memory of ancient people." Yet he mourns the loss of context that comes from removing, say, the Temple of Dendur from its natural environment. On the other hand, he scrutinizes the "stewardship" of past archeologists who removed sacred objects when "o one thought indigenous cultures would survive to start demanding their things back," returns now required by U.S. law. Childs is critical of museum facilities inadequate to protect items that archeologists removed from their sites precisely to preserve them from destruction. He is also unhappy with the legal sale of relics to collectors, which he believes led to "more digging and smuggling." His own "collection" consists of finds he has left in place across the Southwest. But, he says, artifacts that cannot safely be left in place should go to museums. This is an engaging and thought-provoking look at one of the art and artifacts' world's most heated debates. (Aug.)
George Johnson
Craig Childs understands [archeological] epiphanies, and he beautifully captures them...along with the moral ambiguities that come from exposing a long-hidden world.
New York Times Book Review
Susan Salter Reynolds
[Childs is] a desert ecologist who also happens to be a fine storyteller...[Finders Keepers is] a fascinating book, full of swashbuckling pothunters, FBI raids, greasy museum curators who don't really care and many, many other characters...Childs looks at moral issues from varied angles. He doubts others as he doubts himself, a beautiful inverse of the golden rule.
Los Angeles Times
NPR
Reads almost like a thriller, chock-full of vendettas, suicides and large scale criminal enterprises dedicated to the multimillion-dollar trade in antiques.
"Weekend All Things Considered"
Mary Sojourner
Finders Keepers may be [Childs's] most tender and ferocious dissection...If you have ever ached to possess - or lost what you believed you possessed to change, time or someone else - you may find yourself equally possessed by Childs's razor-edge analysis and compassion.
Psychology Today
Jonathan Keats
[Childs is] a superb storyteller...As Childs makes clear in this engrossing book, how people grapple with the past is as varied as history itself.
The New Scientist
Anita Guerrini
[Childs] is the love child of Indiana Jones and George Hayduke...In his passionate and outspoken new book, he expands his scope to a global scale to look at the ethical dilemmas archeology poses. His topic is the past, and particularly, its material remains. Who owns the past? And what, if anything, do we owe it?
Oregonian
George Johnson - New York Times Book Review
"Craig Childs understands [archeological] epiphanies, and he beautifully captures them...along with the moral ambiguities that come from exposing a long-hidden world."
Susan Salter Reynolds - Los Angeles Times
"[Childs is] a desert ecologist who also happens to be a fine storyteller...[Finders Keepers is] a fascinating book, full of swashbuckling pothunters, FBI raids, greasy museum curators who don't really care and many, many other characters...Childs looks at moral issues from varied angles. He doubts others as he doubts himself, a beautiful inverse of the golden rule."
NPR - Weekend All Things Considered
"Reads almost like a thriller, chock-full of vendettas, suicides and large scale criminal enterprises dedicated to the multimillion-dollar trade in antiques.
Mary Sojourner - Psychology Today
"Finders Keepers may be [Childs's] most tender and ferocious dissection...If you have ever ached to possess - or lost what you believed you possessed to change, time or someone else - you may find yourself equally possessed by Childs's razor-edge analysis and compassion."
Jonathan Keats - The New Scientist
"[Childs is] a superb storyteller...As Childs makes clear in this engrossing book, how people grapple with the past is as varied as history itself."
"Weekend All Things Considered" NPR
"Reads almost like a thriller, chock-full of vendettas, suicides and large scale criminal enterprises dedicated to the multimillion-dollar trade in antiques."
Anita Guerrini - Oregonian
"[Childs] is the love child of Indiana Jones and George Hayduke...In his passionate and outspoken new book, he expands his scope to a global scale to look at the ethical dilemmas archeology poses. His topic is the past, and particularly, its material remains. Who owns the past? And what, if anything, do we owe it?"
NPR - "Weekend All Things Considered"
"Reads almost like a thriller, chock-full of vendettas, suicides and large scale criminal enterprises dedicated to the multimillion-dollar trade in antiques."
"Weekend All Things Considered" NPR
"Reads almost like a thriller, chock-full of vendettas, suicides and large scale criminal enterprises dedicated to the multimillion-dollar trade in antiques."
NPR - "Weekend All Things Considered"
"Reads almost like a thriller, chock-full of vendettas, suicides and large scale criminal enterprises dedicated to the multimillion-dollar trade in antiques."
From the Publisher
"Craig Childs understands [archeological] epiphanies, and he beautifully captures them...along with the moral ambiguities that come from exposing a long-hidden world."—George Johnson, New York Times Book Review

"Reads almost like a thriller, chock-full of vendettas, suicides and large scale criminal enterprises dedicated to the multimillion-dollar trade in antiques."—NPR, "Weekend All Things Considered"

"This is a delightful account of the complicated world of archeology by an author who loves (one might say is borderline obsessed with) the past... This nicely wrought, even poetic book about archeological excavation and the variety of people who are passionate about the past and its artifacts will fascinate everyone from high school students to professional archaeologists digging in the field. Highly recommended."—Library Journal

"Finders Keepers may be [Childs's] most tender and ferocious dissection...If you have ever ached to possess - or lost what you believed you possessed to change, time or someone else - you may find yourself equally possessed by Childs's razor-edge analysis and compassion."—Mary Sojourner, Psychology Today

"[Childs] is the love child of Indiana Jones and George Hayduke...In his passionate and outspoken new book, he expands his scope to a global scale to look at the ethical dilemmas archeology poses. His topic is the past, and particularly, its material remains. Who owns the past? And what, if anything, do we owe it?"—Anita Guerrini, Oregonian

Library Journal
This is a delightful account of the complicated world of archaeology by an author who loves (one might even say is borderline obsessed with) the past. Naturalist Childs (The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild) explores both sides of the debate over the ethics of archaeology, of who owns the past—as well as who has the right to dig, sell, and keep uncovered artifacts. What Childs does brilliantly throughout is to keep asking the reader who is right and who is wrong. Are the archaeologist, museum curators, and scholars the good guys? Are the looters, private collectors, and ordinary people digging up artifacts the bad guys? Or is it the opposite? The reader finds that there is no easy answer when it comes to our past. VERDICT This nicely wrought, even poetic book about archeological excavation and the variety of people who are passionate about the past and its artifacts will fascinate everyone from high school students to professional archaeologists digging in the field. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/10.]—Melissa Aho, Bio-Medical Lib., Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Kirkus Reviews
Naturalist Childs (The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild, 2007, etc.) probes our "meaningful, tangible connection to the people who came long before us."Growing up in the American Southwest, the author learned to cherish the artifacts he and his father uncovered in the desert. Here he re-creates the experience of holding such an object and imagining the people who used it "centuries, even millennia, earlier." For the past decade, Childs has belonged to "a gang of relic hunters" who search out unaltered archaeology sites in the desert, "scouring the wilderness" to discover the "precious belongings that people cared for" without disturbing them. To remove a relic, keep it as a personal possession, sell it or even give it to a museum violates the author's personal ethic, although he recognizes the value of museums. Federal law honors the ownership rights of Native American tribes to the remains of their dead ancestors and the funerary objects buried with them, challenging the rights of museums such as the Smithsonian. Nonetheless there is a thriving legal and illegal global trade in collectibles. Childs provides plenty of fascinating stories of treasure hunters, collectors, Buddhist monks and other adventurers, many of which are reminiscent of the escapades of Indiana Jones. One would-be collector was caught with a pair of sandals in his home that were 10,000 years old. After receiving an 18-month prison sentence, he attempted to hire a hit man to kill the judge, and his ex-wife, who had given incriminating evidence to the police. A private Santa Fe collector hoards the treasure he found on land he purchased, which contained the ruins of "a multithousand-room pueblo occupied from pre-Columbian times up to the installation of a Spanish mission."A colorful, informative excavation. Agent: Kathy Anderson/Anderson Literary Management
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316052498
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 8/25/2010
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 597,588
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Craig Childs--naturalist, adventurer, and desert ecologist--lives in Crawford, CO. His previous books include The Animal Dialogues, House of Rain, The Way Out, The Secret Knowledge of Water, and Soul of Nowhere.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Excellent book.

    As with house of rain, always want more when the book ends

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    Thoughtful Read.      Childs takes the reader on a mental journ

    Thoughtful Read.

         Childs takes the reader on a mental journey here as well as to many Southwest locations.
         He tries to put in perspective the question of who the past belongs to.
     Maybe he who writes the history shouldn't always be the ones who won the battles?
     Maybe there is something to be said for leaving things in place to pass on to a generation later?
     Their influence dependent on discovering objects exactly where they were left. Seems simple.
     Once reading this - you will understand how difficult it really is.
     Childs has done better things with the Southwest, but this isn't going to be confined to just one landscape.
     Lots of weighty subject matter here.

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    Posted January 12, 2011

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    Posted April 8, 2011

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    Posted April 7, 2011

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    Posted June 29, 2011

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    Posted January 27, 2011

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    Posted May 10, 2011

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