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Treasure in a Cornfield: The Discovery & Excavation of the Steamboat Arabia Hardcover – April, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Paddlewheel Pr; Illustrate edition (April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965761258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965761253
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This book is written for all those with an interest in the process of treasure hunting and how the people viewed themselves and that quest. I have worked in archaeology and I have worked with land developers trying to smooth beaucratic red tape. I could empathize with the author family's problems and frustrations they faced through the discovery, excavation and preservation of their treasure. A very very good book, very readable and great pictures! Read this then visit the Arabia museum!
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By A Customer on June 23, 2000
Greg Hawley has pieced together a sincere account of modern treasure hunters, a group of hometown guys literally digging up the backyard. He manages to keep alive the the thrill of discovery while stressing the amount of research, hard work and danger involved in uncovering the secrets of the Arabia. Rarely in non-fiction do we meet characters like Norman Storer. Most importantly, Hawley and his cohorts bring modern sensibilities to treasure hunting at a time when many of us are rethinking the purposes of archaeology, paleontology, other sciences and the role museums should play in educating the public by maintaining the past. I highly recommend this reading for anyone interested in history, restoration, preservation, and especially for the thousands of people out there who have become hooked on steamboatin'. For you - this is a must read.
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This is an intriging guide book for the Hawley family's quest to find, excavate and restore the Steamboat Arabia. Coupled with a tour of their Museum in Kansas City, MO, this brings to life not only their quest but the history of those onboard the Arabia, as well as her freight goods.
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This book documents the true story of one group of local people excavating a buried steamboat that sunk in 1856, and the tremendous effort involved. Reading like a diary, with chapter drawings of where in the hull the group is working, each new discovery is documented, along with all the preliminary and follow-up effort needed with an excavation of this size. The dedication and patience of the Hawley family is just amazing -- from the years involved in finding the wreck to the months of excavation, to the creation of the museum in Kansas City and the years of conservation of the artifacts recovered. Greg Hawley's book documents it all including the lack of help from many the professional archaeology community. I have been fortunate to work as a volunteer on digs throughout the world and it is too bad I never knew Greg or worked on this project, but he kept it very discrete knowing full well the problems with government red-tape and the limitations of non-profit funding options. Making this a for-profit museum was the best solution and this museum is just an amazing place to visit, as the great color photos in this book will suggest. The tragedy is that in a final chapter, Greg Hawley speaks of a woman who comes to him asking if the clothing was preserved. Thinking that she is speaking of the recovered textiles he starts to explain the conservation process, but she interupts to say no, she is speaking about Greg's clothing worn during the excavation! She thinks that he and his family are important parts of the Arabia steamboat story that future generations will want to know about. And I agree. Sadly, Greg Hawley was killed in an automobile accident in January 2009 by a teenager racing on a public highway where Hawley was traveling. I visited the museum recently and learned of this tragedy.Read more ›
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I have read this book three times and have used it as a reference many more times. Its research is as involved as the actual digging of the Arabia. Hawley uses the suspense of the next discovery and the frustration of digging in watery sand to make an actual plot for an archeological dig. Hawley's amateur enthusiasm is contagious and comes off the page in true professionalism.
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This book provides an excellent glimpse of the way west c.1850 as the treasure hunters uncover box after of box of virtually "new" merchandise and belongings heading to outposts of the American frontier. The past takes on a colorful perspective when you see page after page of full color items which many of us are familiar with only through sepia toned pictures of the past. Not only are the treasure hunters overwhelmed with their finds but they revisit their objective of wealth and fame when they dedicate the fruits of their search to a more noble cause of establishing the museum (which by the way is a serious step into the past, you must see this stuff up close and personal!) Very enjoyable read.
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Verified Purchase
I can't believe one of the reviewers called this 'boring'. You must travel to Kansas City, MO and take the museum tour! This author and his family spent hundreds of thousands of dollars excavating the Arabia Steam Boat which sank in 1856 in the Missouri River. (No lives were lost, save one mule.) They started digging in the cornfield, where previous expeditions proved that the Arabia was there, on Nov 13, 1988 and completed on Feb 9, 1989. The whole family participated. They had to install endless pumps to keep the water table at bay while they reclaimed what they could during the 3 month excavation. When I went on the tour, I had no idea what to expect, as a cousin of my brother-in-law, chose to take us there while we were in town for a family reunion. By the time I completed the tour, I was overwhelmed. This family cleaned every item they could (and still are) so people like us could take a peak into the past. They did not sell any of the find, they invited the public to experience the fruits of their labor. I urge anyone who is in the vicinity of KC to go through this magical place. I plan to go back someday. (Besides, you could also take in a game at the Royals stadium!)
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