Monday, November 19, 2012

Artifacts and Lies Blog Tour -- and a Giveaway!



As part of the Artifacts and Lies blog tour, I'm happy to welcome Jordan Jacobs, real-life archaeologist and the author of SAMANTHA SUTTON AND THE LABYRINTH OF LIES (Sourcebooks, October, 2012)



First, let me tell you about his book:

Samantha Sutton is a curious, headstrong twelve-year-old girl. She wants to be an archaeologist just like her Uncle Jay. When he offers to take her on one of his digs in Peru that summer, she jumps at the chance. The catch? Her older brother, who loves teasing her, comes along too. Not only that, but she has to work with her uncle's grouchy assistant. And then artifacts start to disappear from the dig site.

Combining history, mystery, and heart-racing adventure, Jordan Jacobs weaves a plot full of non-stop fun and incredible facts in Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies. If you like Nancy Drew and other mysteries, you'll love this book. I received the galley from netgalley, courtesy of the publisher. 



Ever wonder what it’d be like to be an archaeologist, to travel to exotic places and dig into the mysteries of centuries old civilizations? For today's guest post, Jordan explains what a day in the life of an archaeologist is really like.


Jordan Jacobs (from his website)


Just Another Day at the Office

The movies don’t get everything wrong when it comes to archaeology.   Even in real life, there’s plenty of adventure to be found.  

As an archaeologist, I’ve gotten to work high in the Andes at Chavin de Huantar—crawling through unexplored tunnels full of bats and rubble and scattered human bones. I’ve excavated Crustumerium, just north of Rome, where Bronze Age peoples lie at rest in a sprawling city of the dead. I’ve worked in the United States as well, clearing cemeteries in advance of major construction projects, excavating cliff dwellings, and digging the toilet of a California governor from the wreckage of his earthquake-totalled mansion.

But of course, this sort of adventure is only part of the job.  

An archaeologist’s task is to study past cultures through what they’ve left behind.  These pieces of evidence—or “artifacts”—can be as big as an Egyptian pyramid or as small as a speck of pollen, stuck to an ancient cooking pot.   But the information they contain can be surprising.  Archaeologists can use these artifacts to reconstruct how people once lived—from the food they ate, to the way they fought, to the religions that they practiced and their views of the world around them.

The archaeologist’s “typical day” takes a variety of forms.  Some work mostly in the field--surveying the land, digging precise excavation units into the earth, looking for patterns, making comparisons, and drawing careful conclusions from whatever pieces of the past still remain.  Others work in laboratories, using the tools of science to discover how old an object is, exactly what it’s made of, or precisely where it came from.  Still others spend their days in museum storerooms, re-examining the evidence recovered by their predecessors.  And some archaeologists work with governments and companies in order to protect sites from destruction through development, looting, neglect, or war.

But archaeology also carries a lot of responsibility.  One awkward truth is that excavation destroys sites, meaning that each particular discovery can be made only once.  It’s up to the archaeologist to record everything he or she can--otherwise, that information is lost forever.  Just as importantly, archaeologists have a responsibility to the people who live nearby the site, or who claim it as their ancestors’.  

At its best, archaeology is a little like time travel. Holding an artifact in your hand can make you feel a connection to someone who lived centuries or millennia before. It’s intimate.  It’s humbling.  Seeing the fingerprint of a potter on the surface of a plain and broken pot is a reminder of the humanity all people share--no matter where, or when, we live.  

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Ooo, I love time travel, so I guess that means I love archaeology too! Thanks for joining us today, Jordan.

Readers, Sourcebooks has generously offered to give away a paperback copy of SAMANTHA SUTTON AND THE LABYRINTH OF LIES to one lucky winner from the U.S. or Canada (sorry, Sourcebooks won't mail outside of the US or Canada).  To enter, you must be a follower and comment on this post.  You have until Saturday, December 1 at 10 pm EST. Remember, only US and Canada addresses, please.  Winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on Monday, December 3.

23 comments:

  1. Awesome guest post. Interesting how the excavation ruins the site. Makes sense but I hadn't thought of it before. Don't enter me in the contest. I was part of the blog tour too..

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    1. I thought that was interesting too, Natalie. That's why it's so important for them to photograph the site and take good notes!

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  2. Very excited to read a book about a young female who is interested in archaeology and is gutsy. My students would have LOVED this book--I taught middle school kids who needed models like Samantha. It made me wonder what careers female nurses (in their 60's for example) might have considered if Clara Barton had been a doctor. Thank you Jordan.

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  3. I'm a follower - yay!

    I like what the author says about holding artifacts to be intimate and humbling. I've felt that way while traveling in old/ruined cities or even in museums. To feel the connection to humanity, but also to feel like such a small speck in the scheme of things.

    What is it today about MGM adventure stories? There's one about a girl searching for her dad in the S.A. jungle and a girl in the congo on a bonobo rescue mission with her mom. Are we all craving a trip somewhere exotic? :-)

    Danika

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    1. Thanks, Danika. You're officially entered. And hey, good point about craving exotic travel. There are a lot of MG adventure/mysteries with unusual settings.

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  4. C'mon, this guy was just itching to tell us he's really Indiana Jones...

    This sounds like a super cool book. I'm a follower and would love to win it for my own little crazed archaeologist.

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    1. Oh, Indiana Jones was the first thing I thought of! Good luck to you and your little archaeologist.

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  5. This book looks so great for my 5th and 6th graders. I think many of them would really enjoy it. Especially because I honestly don't see many books that have archaeology.

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    1. So true, Jill. I can't think of any other MG books about archaeology, except for that series about young Indiana Jones a few years back.

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  6. I saw this book mentioned on another blog. It sounds like something one of my kids might like to read. I'll have to check it out. :D

    I once wanted to be an archaeologist. Turns out it's nothing like in the Indiana Jones movies. lol

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  7. This sounds like it'd be full of interesting details. I know my daughter would enjoy reading it. Thanks for letting me know about it!

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  8. I want to read this at some point. Would love to win a copy! :)

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    1. Well, now you're officially entered, Jennifer!

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  9. Talk about write what you know! I'm sure Jordan Jacobs is full of stories from his job that he could turn into more books. I can't help but wonder if Samantha Sutton will become a series. The first one sounds great!
    Cindy

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    1. Good point, Cindy. I'll bet it will be!

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  10. i spent three months backpacking through peru -- perfect place to set a mystery! :o)

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    1. Wow, Gina! I'm impressed. Bet there are some novel ideas in that experience.

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  11. What a cover! This book sounds excellent! Archaeology is so intriguing! One of my friends worked in South America for a little while as an archaeologist and it sounded so cool. I would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

    I am an old follower. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Hi Jess! How impressive that your friend worked in South America as an archaeologist!

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