Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Digging Stuff Up or Archaeology for Those in the Know…

February 10, 2014

Archaeology is defined as the scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other remains.

Fascination with the lives of humans that came before us has been around for decades. Preservation of artifacts and intensive research into the daily life and habits of these ancestors has increasingly revealed lives we could never imagine. From simple stone tools to impressive structures, such as aqueducts and pyramids, to technological inventions, homo sapiens have evolved at an incredible rate.  As you can see from this graph, although it only spans until Shakespeare’s time. We have taken even larger leaps since then.

Cultural history

Technological advances have exploded as you can clearly see here.


Actually digging on an archaeological site is fun as the anticipation of finding something keeps you picking away at the soil, even in poor weather or baking heat. I have experienced a couple of digs and attended archaeology classes as well as explored numerous historical sites and houses in England. These visits are cataloged in many scrap books. I incorporated my knowledge of archaeology into my novel, The Twesome Loop, where a gruesome find in the villa grounds is investigated.

Excerpt from The Twesome Loop 

Her parents’ friend, James Buckley, was in charge of the new dig at the Thornwood villa, he had been only too pleased to welcome Caroline and his old colleagues to visit. Caroline had investigated so much on the Thornwood estate but to actually visit it, was a dream come true. Through her own research she already knew a great deal about Lord Thornwood. He had bought the land near Agagni and commissioned the restoration of the Italian villa on the site. It was built on the highest point, giving extensive views across the valley. As part treasure hunter and part historian, the English Lord spent decades digging his land and finding numerous Roman artifacts, which he unashamedly sold to the highest bidder to finance his other obsession, gambling.

As the years passed, the locals thought him mad as he was always in dirty clothes digging up the land, followed closely by a manservant with a wheelbarrow and water jugs. When Lord Thornwood died, his family sold off the villa and its land in job lots to pay off his large debts. Caroline had also researched the man who would be their host, Edward Beecham. She discovered he had inherited the villa and its extensive gardens. With investment he had commissioned a total refit of the villa, which transformed it into a large family home with separate accommodation for guests. It comprised of eight bedrooms all with en suite and traditional balconies. The web site showed the decor was sympathetic to the age of the building and all the fittings were reproduction to the era when the villa was first built. The photographs Caroline had found online gave stunning views across the valley. She was excited about exploring the home and grounds of her ‘champion’. Lord Thornwood had lived his passion for artifacts, and although he sold the wonderful treasures, they gradually found their way into museums all over the world.

What fascinates you about history?

Atrocity of War…

December 2, 2013

Atrocity – definition: shocking cruelty or wickedness

War 1

In human history there have been hundreds of atrocities, some are part of written history but many have, alas, been forgotten as those who spoke of them have passed. Why do we not, as a species, learn from our mistakes? It is only a few generations since the ‘war to end all wars’ – World War I (1914-1918). Unfortunately, it was not the end of all wars as World War II (1939 – 1945) followed a mere twenty one years later. My grandfather served in the first and my mother and father were children during the second. When we actually look at our own families ancestry, it brings into sharp focus that these events are not that long ago. Surely, that mere fact should act as a deterrent.

Unfortunately, war is glorified in movies, books and games without consequence to the viewer/player. This must desensitize us to the actual horror and suffering. It is not up close and personal for the majority of people. Warfare can be waged from remote locations and aircraft thousands of feet above the ‘target’. For troops on the ground the horrors are all too real and they are haunted by them for the rest of their lives. I experienced this with my own grandfather, when in his old age, he would be convinced he was back in the trenches and would hide underneath his bed, pulling me down to safety.

My grandfather was also part of the Christmas truce (see here: ) when both sides joined together in peace. If they could do it for a day why not forever?

War is death of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children.

Why do humans continue to slaughter each other? We are the same species after all.

What is the answer to stop? That is the age old question that no one seems to know the answer to.

I recently saw a trailer for the movie The Book Thief. It is set in World War II and follows a young girls journey. I have attached a link to the book’s summary, for those interested.

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