Can You Dig It? (Review)
Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Author: Amanda Baker
Publisher: 2018, Panda Archaeology (self-published)
Interest Level: Ages 10 - 13
Reading Level: N/A
Retail: $14.99, paperback
Summary: A question-and-answer format book about archaeology that teaches basic concepts and vocabulary, dispels common myths about archaeologists, and shows examples of sites and excavations primarily in the Middle East. Factual information is interspersed with the first person voice of the author.
This is a cute self-published book about archaeology with lots of photographs and large-font text set against colorful backgrounds. The overall tone of the text is conversational. Unlike many non-fiction titles, the glossary is at the front of the book. Companion coloring pages and activities are free to download if you sign up for emails at pandaarchaeology.com.
The book is organized by the following question headings:
What is archaeology?
What do archaeologists study?
So how does an excavation work?
How did people get the materials they needed for tools and housing?
How do archaeologists learn so much about people who no longer live?
So how can you get involved in archaeology today?
There is a noticeable European bias to this book. Methods described and depicted in the illustrations are sometimes different than those used in the United States. As a fellow archaeologist, I might re-word some of the definitions and clarify certain terms within the text, but they are technically correct. There are a few photographs of new world sites and artifacts, but the author focuses on her area of expertise.
Illustrations consist of photographs that are a combination of the author's own photos, stock photos, images used under Creative Commons license, and clip art. The result is colorful, but a bit busy and dense. Text is large, but lines are closely spaced, decreasing readability. The book has a somewhat amateurish feel, but I suspect that children eager to learn about archaeology will not notice and may actually be drawn to its informality.