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Hoyland, archaeologist-cum-spy. The first book involves the goings-on on an island west of Ireland where the inhabitants are said to be planning to declare U.D.I. It is full of atmos phere and is a good reflection of an insular and Inbred community. The second book concerns an ill-fated expedition to find ruins in an un charted part of South America. There are also references to ley lines and an eccentric liv ing in a reconstruction of Arthur's Castle on the Cornish coast. Mann is a highly regarded writer and critic whose books make for excel lent reading.

Tim Mulligan and Elsie May Hunt are archae ologists who feature in several books by Aaron Marc Stein. One such is Shoot Me Dacent (Doubleday 1951) where a trip to Dublin to do research on 'zoomorphic interlace' in Irish art leads to entanglement with politics and the underworld. The archaeology is incidental but the book tells a good story. I haven't seen any of the others in the series.

trous consequences. Really more speleologi cal than archaeological, the book has an intriguing plot and a surprise literally last line denouement.

Moving further afield to America, we have two books with connections with indigenous peo ple. In Waiter Satterthwait's At Ease with the Dead (Harper Collins 1991) an assignment in volving the recovery of the skeleton of a known individual excavated in 1925 on a Navajo Res ervation in Texas makes life difficult and danger ous for a modern day P.1. Characters along the way include an archaeology professor at 'UTPE' and a retired anthropologist, 'the local Margaret Mead'. In Dig Me Up (Avon Books, New York 1992) by Suzanne Chance, excava tions at an ancient Caddo mound in East Texas provoke strong opposition from present day descendants. The ethical and moral issues raised form an interesting (and relevant) theme in this horrific story.

Edgar Award winner Sharyn McCrumb has produced Paying the Piper (Ballantine 1988) which is set at an excavation of a prehistoric burial ground on a small Scottish island where one of the crew dies mysteriously. The book is well researched with a brooding atmosphere pervading the story.

An excellent book is Laura Francos' St Oswa/d's Niche (Ivy Books, New York 1991) which involves deception and murder at an excavation in the imaginary of St Oswald in York, England. Tfle setting closely parallels actual work being carried out in York and, in fact, in her preface the author commends the York Archaeological Trust to readers' attention. The real and the imaginary are skillfully interwoven in this book and anyone familiar with York will

find it particularly absorbing.

Finally, it seems that no list is complete without something inspired by the Middle East. In this case it is Danier Easterman's Name of the Beast (Harper Collins 1992) which is set in Egypt in the near future. New 'plagues' sweep North Africa and terrorism is rife in Europe. One of the leading protagonists in this evil is 'the beautiful archaeologist, A isha' of the Cairo Museum. Easterman IS renowned for high

quality thrillers and this is no exception.

Despite the strong emphasis on theory which has come to the fore in the last decade, I still agree with one of the characters in Waiter Satterthwait's book where he observes: 'Ar chaeology and detective work, they're a lot alike, don't you think? Digging through the strata. Unearthing the clues, piecing them together.' So I shall keep' on excavating and hopefully more reports Will be forthcoming in due course.

We move across to Europe and The Caves of Night (Hodder & Stoughton 1958) by John Christopher. Here an obsession with recording Palaeolithic art draws a man and his compan- ions into a complex cave system with disas-

Department of Anthropology and Sociology University of the Western Cape P/Bag X17 Bellvme 7535

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The two sun-tanned archaeolo gists are standing in the remains of an Early Iron Age village called Ndondondwane in a re mote and sparsely-populated region of the Thukera Valley.

have been occupied by some of KwaZulu-Natal's very first cattle and grain farmers. 1t was first excavated in 1976 by Tim Maggs of the Natal Museum, andagain in the early 1980s by Jannie Loubser. With the im minent construction of a bridge and weir nearby, forthe

Thukela/Mhlathuze emer gency water supply project, work here for salvage pur poses recommenced in April this year.

The village - abandoned about 750 AD - is thought to

The archaeologists are staring at a hole in the ground, trying to work out why a pile of cattle

The Digging Stick


Vol 12 (3) Nov 1995

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