What do A Thief Of Time by Tony Hillerman, The Source by James Michener, The Dig by John Preston, and The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb by Agatha Christie have in common? They’re all novels about archaeology. I wanted to mention this because today, October 18, is International Archaeology Day.
While there are hundreds of factual, nonfiction books about archaeology, there also are a surprising number of novels written about the genre, including about 80 “general” titles like the ones listed above and nearly 50 that are listed as “thrillers.” Archaeological thrillers! Who knew?
Well, those who DO know rank the book The Seventh Scroll, a 1995 book by Wilbur Smith, as the number one archaeological “thriller” of all time. It got a score of 993 (out of 1000) from a panel of voters from around the world. Smith is a South African writer who once studied archaeology (among other things) and wrote a series of adventure/thriller novels about a husband-and-wife archaeological team exploring Egyptian tombs (where they find the seventh scroll).
There’s an old adage that writers should “Write What They Know Best,” whether it be archaeology, education, sports or history. All are fertile ground for fiction.
Happy archaeology day to all who are celebrating.
Archaeologists work on everything from tombs to dinosaur tails – great settings for writers.