This teaching novel is an archaeological suspense story set in northeast China at a site that is called the Goddess Temple. Clara, protagonist of Nelson’s Spirit Bird Journey, begins work at an excavation at the Temple, only to discover the problems of contemporary looting, government meddling, and excavation interpersonal dynamics. Nelson’s story also describes the lifeways of the Neolithic people who used the temple thousands of years ago—their economy, social structure, gender relations, and religious rituals—through the eyes of a young woman living there. Written by a leading American archaeologist specializing in these topics, this volume is both a good read and good archaeology. An ideal starting point to introduce archaeology to college students.
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"The people of the ancient past come alive through Nelson's novel . . . Jade Dragon is a good read-and parts are extraordinarily rich in both emotion and ethnographic detail." -Adrian Praetzellis, Asian Perspectives