"Once in a great while, a work that is redable, enticing, and of great use to the students I serve, arrives on my doorstep. Naomi F. Miller's, Drawing on the Past: An Archaeologist's Sketchbook," is just that. This small book, replete with sketches and watercolors recording her personal work in the field from 1974 through the present, is strung together with lines of prose both practical and poetic." --Sara H. LeRoy-Toren, in Historical Archaeology
"This is a unique endeavor, as the volume is in 6" x 9" sketchbook format and contains text accompanied by full color plates of the author's sketches. Miller has been drawing since early childhood. Her sketches are a visual pleasure, while the language is direct, and the ideas edifying." --Elaine Galen, in Near Eastern Archaeology"While this book is not intended to be a scholarly work, it is such a fun volume that it is difficult not to recommend it to anyone interested in archaeology at any level...People often ask what is it like to dig and now there is a book that describes it in a way that is interesting, informative, and accessible to any age." --Tammi J. Schneider, in Religious Studies Review
"Miller's book is a delightful, colorful, slender volume that fits
perfectly into the hands for an intimate read...Lyrical watercolors,
pencil, and ink drawings dominate every page, accompanied by a free,
light narrative...Miller's images speak to the dusty, hot breezes of
western Asia, the humor and pleasure of a healthy archaeological
expedition, and to the inherent oddity of archaeology whereby people from
one culture arrive in jeans and tee shirts to preserve the treasures of
another place and time." --Dana Walrath, in Expedition
Puabi's attendant (right)...could it be?
Why not buy a copy of my book? See what my friends say:
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002
Subject: Drawing on the Past
Your lovely book of drawings and watercolors arrived yeaterday. [We] were immediately entranced by the images and text-- such an amusing, informative down-to-earth description life on the dig. The watercolors are really wonderful, but I've always known that.... I had never seen the Shiraz bazaar or Malyan village scenes. Then there are all the pals: ...--they evoke such memories! Is that Dash, the Wonder Dog, on the back cover? Remember, he had a "thing' for you, invading your bedroom with his cargo of fleas! And there he is, wagging his tail at your photograph. Plate 16 is a sweet rendering of my favorite view of Yassıhöyük. The Euphrates views are as close as I ever need to get to that old river. Finally, I love all the little sketches scattered throughout--especially the birds and animals. Thanks again for the originals, which I treasure, and thanks for the book. ...
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002
Subject: Re: Congratulations! It's delightful!
A big hug of congratulations. ...
Your book is a really delightful little gem. I tore open the package right away and looked at the pictures on every page. And thus far I have read some text too, which is nicely done also. The U Penn Press [sic] did a great job. I love the shape and format and color of the cover and the fun typeface. I also love your little note to me with the sheep.
Your paintings are really lovely. I had not seen most of them before, so nearly every page was a wonderful surprise. The sketches are fun too and I like the way they are tucked in here and there. I am only sorry that they did not do a larger format. The composites with 6 or 9 paintings are a little hard to see. I need my high powered reading glasses--the ones I use for threading needles when I sew.
Are they doing a nice gallery show for you at the Museum with all the paintings and drawings elegantly mounted? And a splashy opening with expensive champaign? ...
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002
Hi, Naomi. I'm one of your early customers, as I ordered an advance copy at the AIA meetings, and it arrived yesterday! Had a WONDERFUL time with the drawings last evening, and loved it all. THANKS so very much! I especially liked a number of the Gordion and Syria landscapes -- Amanus and Birecik and Sweyhat and the Jebel Aruda and the Kopet Dagh, as that was the area of my dissertation and where [ ] and I travelled in '74! Favorite of all is on p. 61, on the road between Birecik and Urfa, which [ ] and I drove the following year. Lovely to have all that evoked on a cold, wintery ... day!
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002
Subject: many thanks
Your book came the other day. [We] have both enjoyed going through it, and I've passed it around to some of the Near Eastern folks here at the Museum -- [ ], etc., all of whom like it a lot. Thanks so much for sending it.
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002
thank you thank you for the book. its wonderful! [We] have been reading it and enjoying the pictures. my absolute favorite is the choreographed digging at sweyhat (and your commentary). you did a great job on it!
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002
Thank you very much for your book. It looks great, and the narrative
is interesting and informative. It's a really nice collection. Lots of
familiar scenes -- "golden Gordion days" and other. And finally the Midas
world prospectus has reached the public! Have any developers contacted
you yet? You've certainly done a lot of drawing over the seasons. Both [
] and [ ] have read it and enjoyed it.
Congratulations! .... Thanks again...
Feb. 14, 2002
We just received your "sketchbook" and [we] just think it's wonderful. We never knew we have so talented a niece. It's an accomplishment you can be proud of. Keep up the good work and it's quite possible we will get another "sketchbook" in 30 more years!
Feb. 22, 2002
I am so touched that you sent me a copy of your book. Thank you so much!
Your book is wonderful: your narrative is a delight to read and you know
how much I admire your watercolors--each is exquisite w/ great sureness
of line, balance of composition pacing & repetition that makes a whole of
the multi-paneled ones, and of course great use of colors to die for. I
love them! I am lucky to have seen many in incomparable person but there
were some that were new to me--the luminosity of the originals and your
wonderful backlighting were undiminished in reproduction. Of course we
love best of all discovering new things in the plates with each reading.
Congratulations in getting your book out. I am so happy that everyone else will get to share in the pleasure of looking at them.
Thank you again, I am most proud to possess a copy so wonderfully inscribed!
Feb. 26, 2002
Thanks a million for your wonderful book. I've just spent a while taking refuge from a grumpy evening by flipping through it, pausing to read about the parts of your life I don't know. How wonderfully generous of you to enshrine us like this, with such precise evocation of time, space, foolishness & purpose.
Date: Thu, 07 Mar 2002
Thank you so much. Your book is a wonderful introduction to archeology. I have a "little sister" in the Big Sister/Little Sister program. My little sister is 10 and she has a birthday coming up, it'll be a perfect gift. She's facinated by exotic things as long as she doesn't have to eat them.
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002
Subject: Your lovely book!
It came some time ago, but I have waited to write until I finished
reading it. What an absolutely charming little book -- your DRAWING ON
THE PAST. I have read it with much pleasure and much feeling. I
understand so much of what you are talking about -- even when you are
dealing with a site I have never even seen. Thank you for sharing it
Congratulations! You should consider it an honour that the old U.M. published it -- which they did to the benefit of us all.
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002
It just arrived in my mail box FINALLY. I've just torn open the wrappings and perused it...quickly, and want to let you know right away what a beautiful, and charming book it is! I love the size, the format, the feel of it...and of course the colours! Really beautiful, congratulations!!! I look forward to reading it tonight, and re-reading it, no doubt, many times.
Good luck with...whatever follows, book-wise. Have the been EVENTS?
And of course good luck with...wherever your work takes you next. I hope you'll keep me posted, a bit.
So, HURRAY, and all best wishes,
March 21, 2002
Thanks you very much...in particular for the beautifully illustrated Archaeologist's Sketchbook. You did a splendid job in putting together the paintings and sketches you made during archaeological fieldwork. The accompanying text gives a vivid account of daily life on a dig. My congratulations on the publication of this book.
March 13, 2002
We wanted to thank you for the copy of your book...as you know we have a framed "Day-in-the-Gordion-Life" on our bedroom. I appreciate the personal perspective and the many different leovels of fieldwork presented in the painting. J[..] has scanned a few for her early semester lecutres on field technique...
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002
Dear Naomi: I wanted to thank you for the copy of your new book Drawing on the Past that you left for us at the SAA exhibit booth in Denver. I'm sorry I wasn't there to receive your gift in person. The book is charming as well as informative. I especially enjoyed all of the anecdotal information and illustrations about daily life in the field. I know that this unique presentation will help make the fieldwork experience come alive for non-archaeologists reading the book. I will happily recommend it to the students and other folks interested in archaeology that contact me for information . Thank you again for the book!
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002
Dearest Naomi, your book is arrived, and it is wonderful. I am going to Ankara by train tonight. Your book will be my biggest present for travel.. Thank you very very much. I'll write you again when I have read it throughly.
Date: Thu, 03 Oct 2002
What a fantastic book! It finally came from the distributor and I've enjoyed it immensely. The text is charming and informative; the pictures are stupendous. Your sense of color is marvelous and your technique, which I always thought was wonderful anyway, is, if anything, even surer. I've enjoyed it so much; it's by my bedside. It makes me feel richer, because now I "own" a whole bunch of original Naomi Millers! Anyhow, I'm so happy that you collected everything together, and I hope you're doing more for volume 2.
Date: Thu, 03 Oct 2002
Dear Prof. Miller,
First of all, thank you very much for your sweet book that puts a human face on archaeology while giving a subtly informative introduction to it as well.