'If you love Indiana Jones, this is the real thing. Michael Scott celebrates the fusion of scholarship and adventure in a book full of both.' DAN SNOW

Uncovering the physical remains of our past is a quintessential human itch; the pursuit of every society from the ancients through to today. But the stories behind archaeological exploration and discovery - what we look for when, what we end up finding, and what we then do with it - tell us as much about ourselves today as they do about the past.

Through eight sensational stories of discovery, Professor Michael Scott traces the evolution of modern archaeology from colonial expeditions to today's cutting-edge digs, unearthing traps, curses and buried treasure along the way. We uncover why different periods and places have caught our attention and imaginations at different times. We meet the characters, some celebrated and some forgotten, who found world-famous discoveries like the Rosetta Stone, the Terracotta Warriors and Machu Picchu. We investigate ancient human footprints, stunning shipwrecks, mythical princesses and surprising rituals as keyholes to the wonders of past civilisations. And we unravel how archaeological finds have often become emblems of modern fascinations and dilemmas.

Crossing millions of years, trekking from the jungles of South America to the frozen highlands of Central Asia, X Marks the Spot reveals how much the discovery of our past is intertwined with the concerns of our present and why X never, ever marks the spot.

Check out my latest blog all about the book and where you can find me talking about it at Literary and History festivals across Summer and Autumn 2023.

Released 25th May 2023

Published by Hodder and Stoughton, UK.

Foreign Language Rights available


"X Marks The Spot is a fascinating book; both as a greatest hits compendium of archaeological breakthroughs, and as a subtle examination of how  'discovery' has evolved. In tracing Archaeology's journey - from imperialist scholars, polyglot geniuses, and marauding adventurers, up to the modern day collaboration of multi-decade projects - Professor Michael Scott shows that 'discovery' often required more than just courage, persistence, and talent, but also geopolitical pressure, local knowledge, dubious ethical choices, and pure blind luck!"