My life in ruins by Adam Ford

Hi everyone, here we are facing the last week of November and about to welcome summer. This last post is a review of an amazing biography I found by chance about an archaeologist from Australia. So, if that has piqued your interest, read on…

cover image of man with bald head in blue shirt at right bottom edge. hand drawn image of ancient city in light brown and black behind him. large blue letters on left reads My Life in Ruins and darker letters reads Adam Ford.
A fascinating memoir

Title: My life in ruins: from Petra to Glenrowan, my adventures and misadventures in archaeology

Author: Adam Ford

Genre: Biography

Publication details: ABC Books; Sydney, NSW, 2015

ISBN: 9780733333194  (Paperback)

What this book is about:  Adam Ford is an archaeologist. For 25 years, on expeditions to the Caribbean, British Isles, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and in Australia, Adam has dug his way into history. He’s also had heat stroke, hypothermia and dysentry; been chased by camel spiders, walked on by scorpions and nearly killed more times than he wanted. In some of the most remote locations in the world he has endured the painstaking task of shifting tonnes of dirt with a small trowel. From Cold War bunkers in England to Bronze Age cities on the Euphrates, caves in the Jordan Valley and shipwrecks in Western Australia, Adam has thrown his energy, enthusiasm and humour into unlocking the mysteries of the past. Part memoir, part potted history of civilization, My Life in Ruins is a timely reminder of how digging up the past can be a good thing. 

My review: Finally, a biography from a real-life, modern-day archaeologist!! And one who lives in Australia!! What fascinated me the most wasn’t the whole finding ancient artefacts, extreme conditions or exotic locations, but the fact that Adam Ford was interested in being an archaeologist from the tender age of seven, after locating a bone belonging to a 500-year-old dead monk, in a dig where his older sister had been working on. It’s very rare that someone at such a young age would find something like that ecstatic and decide to become an archaeologist. For this drive and ambition, I admire him. He tells us of his early life in England with his family and the beginnings of his career as a young archaeologist and the challenges he’s faced. His choice of chapter headings are really interesting and very relevant to what’s in them. What I loved the most were the cool quotes just after from books or movies! I think what readers would enjoy, as I did, is his honest voice he uses to write this memoir. Coming across at times as funny and hilarious but when he talks about places like Jordan and Syria which we now know are in turmoil, our hearts go out to the loss of a culture, of all that history that will no longer be there for the next generation to understand. For me, this was an awesome read and I learned so much. I now know that archaeology is the study of our backstory, not just the study of the human past through investigation and analysis of the physical evidence left behind. The science behind it and the human history that Adam includes might sound a bit tedious but it can be fascinating to the avid followers. Adam Ford’s career and personal life has gone from success to success, and I for one is very proud of his achievements. From owning his own company pursuing his qualification as an archaeologist, being a husband and father and going on to starring in a documentary, Adam Ford, to me has reached the pinnacle of his career and I believe has gained quite a bit of a successful life. 

The end quote that stuck with me: 

“One thing I didn’t appreciate at the time but realise now is that providing context is a huge part of storytelling, and of archaeology. … Explaining the evolution of life on our earth took us from being observers of the natural world to being deep in the mix. The past gives our lives context and I certainly feel that my appreciation of it has given me a better understanding of the here and now… The past isn’t a foreign country, it isn’t alien. It’s just a story of all that we have been, the good, the bad and the downright ugly. And it’s a story that's far too important to be relegated to history.”

My rating: 5 ⭐

Stay safe and keep reading

Miss Mahee

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