No one will deny Herbert J. Spinden’s insistence that the finest part of the archaeologist’s quest for ancient cities is intellectual rather than physical, but the present book nonetheless demonstrates that the latter aspect is also revealingly significant. Robert Wauchope recounts his own initiation in the physical aspect of Mayan archaeology as a preface to selections from the published writings of eighteen others. Although the experiences range from 1805 (Dupaix) to 1939 (Burbank), their locale, with a single exception, is Central America. Carried away by admiration of his favorite, E. George Squier, the editor briefly—and unfortunately in terms of thematic unity—includes Peru.

Wauchope contributes candid and informative introductions to the selections, but his brief identifications of the authors are less than adequate for the popular audience to which the book must principally be directed. The short maudlin bit by Ann A. Morris is the feeblest, and the artistic evocation by Addison Burbank is unrelated to buried cities. Weakened by the absence of maps, the book is enriched by numerous fine illustrations.

This dramatic and romantic exhibition of archaeologists at work is an admirable supplement to dry-as-dust reports. In the past the kind of writing that depicts both living archaeologists and dead cultures has attracted other workers to the field. Today this volume, a fine sampler, is simultaneously an introduction, an invitation, and an expression of professional dissatisfaction by one mature, reflective archaeologist.