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Reviewed with James P. Delgado's Native American Shipwrecks.
Gr. 5-7. Despite the dramatic titles, these two books in the Watts Library--Shipwrecks series are not about Titanic -like disasters but about underwater archaeology: how scientists find and excavate wrecks and what the lost ships and boats tell us about the people who travelled in them long ago. The history is exciting and so is the archaeology. The cover painting on the Native American book is like a generic picture postcard, but Delgado writes with authentic detail about particular ancient cultures. He focuses on the voyages they made and the boats they used, some of which are still being made today. Smith's book is as much about exploration and settlement through history as it is about today's exploration of evidence from ships that were lost at sea. She talks about particular voyages, including those of Columbus and of Amundsen, and recent archaeological projects. The books are profusely illustrated with colour photos and prints on every spread, and the design is spacious, with short chapters and lots of coloured screens. A glossary, a bibliography, and personal source notes show the writers' extensive experience. Hazel Rochman
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