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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Youth Archaeology Book Reviews by Bill Gresens

June 1, 2005

A number of people (well, okay-one or two) have asked about reviews of children’s fiction that incorporates archaeological themes. I hope to do one or two reviews per year of such books-once I begin to get more familiar with the literature.

In the meantime, I do want to recommend a number of books by an author that I read when I was a kid. Five years ago I would not have done this because the books have been out of print for decades. But through the magic of E-Bay, they are available-and at very reasonable prices, I might add. The author is Troy Nesbit, a pseudonym for Franklin Folsom, a native Westerner, who wrote many fiction and non-fiction books for young readers. He also co-authored with his wife Mary The Story of Archaeology in America and a best-selling guide to archaeological sites in the Mountain West that went through many re-printings.

His juvenile fiction-all of which I highly recommend are as follows:

The Mystery at Rustlers’ Fort (1954)
The Jinx of Payrock Canyon (1954)
The Indian Mummy Mystery (1954)
The Diamond Cave Mystery (1956)
The Hidden Ruin (1957)

All were published by Whitman Publishing of Racine, Wisconsin and all receive four trowels! (I was a very discerning young reader!)