Presentations about the Books

by James M Deem


I am often asked to give a presentation about individual books I have written. Here are some possibilities:


Facial Reconstruction/Research/Historical Presentation based on Faces from the Past: Forgotten People of North America

I speak to students about the incredible 60,000-mile journey I took in researching and writing my book,  Faces from the Past: Forgotten People of North America.

I can provide an overview of the entire book or concentrate on the chapters that are relevant to your specific curriculum (the contents include: Spirit Cave Man from Nevada, the Monacan Indians of Virginia, LaSalle's last expedition to the New World, a woman from colonial New York, the enslaved workers of a New York State farmstead, a Mexican soldier killed at the Battle of San Jacinto, the people of the almshouse, buffalo soldiers, and Chinese immigrants in Wyoming).

I can also talk about some of the ethical dilemmas I faced in writing the book.



Bogs and Bog People based on Bodies from the Bog

I begin by defining what a bog is. I explain its "birth" and development and discuss how and why early European people placed objects and bodies in bogs (and other watery places).

I show about 50 images, including many rare images that I discovered during my research for Bodies from the Bog.


Egyptian Mummification based on How to Make a Mummy Talk

In this presentation, I take the audience on a 3000-year tour of mummification, showing how mummies (and their coffins and their canopic jars and various other items, many unusual) changed over that period of time. I have approximately 80 rare images in my PowerPoint from museums around the world that illustrate this dramatic evolution. This is one of my most popular presentations.


Melting Glaciers as well as Ötzi the Iceman based on Bodies from the Ice

I introduce students to the subject of glaciers, by describing how they are formed, how they move, and where they are found. I discuss what people thought of glaciers long ago, in the days before science, and how, more recently, scientists have studied glaciers. I explain why scientists are concerned about the melting of glaciers now. I show comparison photos of glaciers (then and now) to show how much they have melted in recent years. 

I discuss the positive side of melting glaciers from an archaeological standpoint.  I describe how glaciers were explored like long-lost continents, how people who have died while crossing or climbing glaciers have been discovered at the melting edge of glaciers now that they are thawing. I discuss what scientists have found out about these discoveries by studying their remains and the artifacts that accompanied them. In particular, I introduce students to Ötzi the Iceman, showing them how he was discovered and what fascinating objects and clothing were found with him. I explain how scientists eventually uncovered the cause of his death.

Finally, I discuss the problems that may be caused by the melting of glaciers. My PowerPoint includes many rare images that I located when researching my book, Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past.


Pompeii and Herculaneum and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius based onBodies from the Ash

I discuss what life was like in Pompeii before the famous eruption of AD 79. I describe the eruption of Vesuvius and its very different effect on the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

I explain what happened to Pompeii afterwards and why it remained buried for 1700 years. I describe how Pompeii was accidentally uncovered and the types of objects and remains that were found there.

I describe how the rediscovery of Pompeii has enabled scientists and historians to understand better what life was like in ancient Rome times when they were able to make plaster casts of some of the victims. I go into detail about some of the stories archaeologists have told about some of the casts. I demonstrate why students should be skeptical of some of these stories and how students can use critical thinking skills to better judge them.


And don't forget a lunch for aspiring young writers

If you like, I am also happy to spend an informal lunch period with a small group of aspiring young writers. They can ask me questions and talk about writing in much more detail. This can be a special opportunity for students who love to write.

Lunch with students at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee, Illinois