Kent Flannery, the renowned pre-Columbian archaeologist, long ago opined that “archeology is still the most fun you can have with your pants on.”1 And, in fact, this is the approach that I have taken to the practice of archaeology—striving to conduct the highest quality research, yet not forgetting to have a lot of fun doing it. One of the first things I tell new team members in the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath is that “If archaeology is not fun, there is no reason to do it!”
In this book, Marilyn Johnson, a much-published author, tackles the very interesting question of why archaeology is so tantalizing to so many people throughout the world and, more than that, how archaeologists working in many countries and many cultures have the passionate drive to study the past—at times in very difficult circumstances with little material recognition for their extremely hard work.
To do this, Johnson crisscrossed the world, interviewing a wide range of archaeologists of various kinds, working on a very broad range of topics, approaches and archaeological cultures. She not only manages to portray a very colorful and lively picture of what modern archaeology is today, she, also in a very captivating manner, describes the contagious passion and motivation among its practitioners, despite the many hardships that archaeologists throughout the world endure.