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Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX 77055
Main No.: (713) 956-0881

When We Meet
Third Thursday of each month
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:45 pm

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Email: Phone: 713-557-1496

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Texas Archeological Society Annual Meeting 2015

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Public Forum - Friday, October 23, 7:00 p.m.

Omni Hotel West Side, Houston

Marilyn Johnson, author of Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble is our Public Forum Speaker on Friday night, October 23, 7 p.m. If you have not yet read her book, you’ll be able to purchase a copy during her booksigning event from 4 – 5 p.m. on Friday at the Second Annual TAS Book Festival sponsored by the JTAH.

Here are a couple of quotes from reviews of her book. As you read these you will note that the words describe all of us at this meeting – professional and avocational alike – who share a passion for archeology!

Lives in Ruins has been praised for demystifying the archeological profession and reporting on it with clarity and humor. The Dallas Morning News wrote: “As archaeologists collect potsherds and spearpoints, Marilyn Johnson became a collector of archaeologists, tracking them to Machu Picchu and to Fishkill, N.Y., to a Caribbean slave plantation and a Philadelphia beer tasting. In Lives in Ruins, she sifts and sorts them, unearthing a treasury of rare characters." Sarah Parcak, K. Kris Hirst, World Archaeology, Discover, and American Archaeologist have recommended it, and Nature called it a “gem of hands-on reportage.”

Despite the ominous title of Marilyn Johnson’s LIVES IN RUINS: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble, this experiential memoir finds life amid the rubble of archaeology. Johnson doesn’t take up a trowel and spade to shine light on the long-buried treasures of the ancient world. Instead, she concentrates on reconstructing an anthropological portrait of the most mysterious character of all: the Archaeologist. What drives these archaeologists is not the money (meager) or the jobs (scarce) or the working conditions (dangerous), but their passion for the stories that would otherwise be buried and lost. Her book also highlights the friendships and teamwork she experienced in all the archeological projects she worked on while writing the book.

Marilyn Johnson is also the author of two other works of entertaining non-fiction, The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries (Harper Perennial, 2007) and This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (Harper Perennial, 2011). Her latest book, Lives in Ruins, has been praised by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Austin American-Statesman, and Nature, and was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. The Dead Beat was chosen as a Border's Original Voice and was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and both The Dead Beat and This Book Is Overdue! received Washington Irving Book Awards. Johnson is also the author of a recently published article in Smithsonian Magazine highlighting the excavations of the graves of four leaders of the Jamestown Colony. 

Although Johnson lives with her husband, Rob Fleder, near New York City, she will reveal in her talk that she also has strong ties to TEXAS and HOUSTON!

This program was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


If you have any questions please contact event Co-Chairs Linda Gorski at or Kathleen Hughes at We look forward to seeing you soon!