Move over, Indiana Jones,
Dr. Jeannine Davis-Kimball discovers her passion
for archaelogy late in life and desires to excavate the Kurgans
of the Eurasian people. When fellow archaeologist Leonid Yablonsky
invites her to join an American-Russian team working at Pokrovka
on the Russian-Kazakstan border, she gets her chance. As the dig
progresses, Davis-Kimball, Yablonsky and the rest of the team
unearth the remains of male warriors, men buried with children,
warrior women, priestesses, warrior-priestesses, and hearth women.
The roles of these ancient individuals are assigned based on the
grave goods buried with them. Dr. Davis Kimball writes: "It
could not have been more fortuitous for me that the Early Nomads
believed their possessions had to be included in their graves."
This is the focus point of the book. Starting with the finds at
Pokrovka, Dr. Davis-Kimball follows every possible thread in time
and space, to give us as complete as possible a picture of the
Eurasian people in general and the lives of the women in particular--not
just the warrior women, but the priestesses and hearth women as
Dr. Davis-Kimball states that the Indiana Jones myth of archaeology
must be dispelled, and then she goes on a series of travels and
adventures (all wonderfully written) that would have daunted even
that fictional hero, who I don't think could have faced the KGB
with the intelligence and patience she does. Her travels take
her from Northern Ireland to western China. She travels in history
from about 4000 B.C.E. to the modern day. She visits dozens of
museums, many countries, and even lives with a modern day family
It seems that Dr. Davis-Kimball was motivated to write a book
about women, and specifically about warrior women, only after
she realized that warrior women's graves had been excavated for
over 50 years by other archaeologists, and then the women were
all but forgotten. She writes:"I was frustrated by the lack
of interest exhibited by many historians and archaeologists regarding
the status of women in the societies they studied." And:
"I understood that women of high status were hidden in the
shadows of traditional interpretations. It was time to launch
a treasure hunt." Her gift to the world is to simply tell
the truth about what she, and others, have discovered.
For those who saw the NOVA documentary about "The Mysterious
Mummies of China", (the caucasoid mummies discovered in China's
Xinjiang province), Dr. Davis-Kimball was invited to be part of
that documentary team, and there is an excellent chapter in her
book that tells the story behind the documentary.
Dr. Davis-Kimball is gracious in giving credit to others. There
must be several hundred names in this book of the people she has
worked with, or whose work she has studied. There is even a touch
of romance as she writes praisingly of her husband (an engineer)
who was part of the team at Pokrovka, and who accompanies her
in her numerous travels.
And finally, this book was an inspiration, that growing old does
not mean growing stale, and that, even late in life, a person
can become what he or she truly wishes to be.
Equal parts archaeology, adventure, autobiography, travelogue,
this is history at it's readable best.
A reader from USA
March 6, 2002