Back in the 1960's when I was a teen and my main passion was paleontology, I used to dream of visiting the Great Plains and collecting fossils, to walk in the footsteps of Cope, Marsh and Hatcher and relive the thrill of discovery in one of the most fossiliferous areas in the world. Though I had never set foot there, Nebraska became the mysterious center of my universe.
It would have been a far less mysterious place had there been even one book or article available about Nebraska's fossils. There were many technical papers, to be sure...most written before I was born...and an occasional newspaper article about some great find, but not one popular book! How could this be? It was a frustrating time to be an amateur paleontologist.
It's been thirty years since then. I now work for the University of Nebraska State Museum and have collected and prepared thousands of vertebrate fossils from all over the state. For the past 20 years I've had nearly daily contact with amateurs from all around the country, and one of the most frequent questions they've asked is this: "Is there a good book about Nebraska's fossils?" Until 1995 my answer still had to be "No, not one." With the publication of The Cellars of Time, Paleontology and Archaeology in Nebraska, I'm finally able to answer "YES!". This is the book I wanted 30 years ago! It bridges the gap between a beautifully illustrated popular book and a short course on Great Plains paleontology and archaeology. It's full of great photographs and articles which illustrate and explain past and current research in Nebraska, and how recent discoveries have changed our understanding of the history of the Great Plains and North America. It's definitely a keeper!