Motel of the Mysteries
By David Macaulay
Houghton Mifflin, 1979. Fiction.
In the year 4022, the amateur archaeologist Howard Carson stumbled upon what is apparently a sacred burial tomb from the ancient country of Usa - a once civilized nation that was destroyed, along with the rest of North America, by cataclysmic events that buried all life on the continent. Motel of the Mysteries documents the discoveries made by Carson and his partner, Harriet Burton, in the sealed burial chamber - marked as sacred by the "do not disturb" sign hanging from the door.
When I first read this book in the sixth grade, I thought it was hysterically funny. I found it so funny that I shared it with my entire family several times. The completely false conclusions that Howard Carson reaches about completely ordinary things in our culture - like toothbrushes, or toilet paper, or toilets - make the book even more funny. While some of the "modern" equipment in the book (like giant TV's and telephones) may seem a little like ancient history to kids now, this book is still enjoyable for anyone interested in history, archaeology, or Egyptology - a true "oldie but goodie."