Thursday, February 5, 2009


I have never been very good at resisting temptations. Especially ones involving books. Although I admit that I did not even try very hard when I saw the most recent list of books on sale from The David Brown Book Company. I found a couple of very interesting titles at laughable prices: Letters from the Desert by Margaret Drower (2004), which contains letters and journals of Flinders Petrie and his wife, Hilda; and Women Travellers in the Near East by Sarah Searight (2005). I will try to find time to comment the books here after I have received and read them.

When I was a child, I dreamed of becoming an explorer. I read books about expeditions to the little known corners of the world and was an avid follower of the TV documentary series "The Silk Road", a Japanese-Chinese co-production filmed in the late 70's and shown in the Finnish telly in the early 80's. It was probably this dream which unconsciously drove me when I applied to study ethnology in the first place. Later, when it had become clear that I was not to follow the Finnish academics of the 19th century into expeditions in Siberia (I mean the ones who went voluntarily; a number of Finns were exiled there because the Tsar did not like their views), I turned my interest into archaeology. It seemed to promise at least the uncomfortable accommodation and not-too-good meals on digs, if not the excitement of discovering new territories and peoples. In hindsight, my ending up spending several seasons in Jordan, camping on a mountaintop*, was just a logical continuation of the kind of career choices I have made.

"The Silk Road" is currently being rebroadcasted on YLE Teema. And I still dream of traveling the Silk Road all the way through Central Asia to China, preferably on horse- and camelback.

Although, truth to be told, the camp was relatively comfortable and the food was actually good if a little monotonous.

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