Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Rare books mark climactic page in archaeology's history

This article in the Boston University Bridge caught my eye two years back and inspired a chapter in 'Todd Garcia, Boy Archaeologist', a chapter which didn't make it to the first two drafts of 'The Joshua Files'.

The article describes how a book collector came across a super-rare copy of a book by the explorer who kicked off the whole field of Mayan archaeology, John Lloyd Stephens. The bookstore didn't recognise quite what they had in their shop, not having realised that the apparently insignificant inscription in the flyleaf was from the author to President Martin Van Buren.

Only two copies of this book ('Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan') would be more valuable and are in fact still missing...the author's own copy and the one he gave to his friend and collaborator, the artist Frederick Catherwood.

In real life they are still missing. In 'The Joshua Files', however, one of these might be hiding, unnoticed in a second-hand bookshop in Jericho, Oxford...

And today, that deleted chapter (rewritten for Joshua) will be making its way into Invisible City version 3.0.

(Provided I don't get tempted by something else, like an afternoon at the pool. Fingers crossed for rain...)

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