The Balkan Heritage Field School is proud to share the success story of one of our former students! Becky Cooper joined the excavation team at Tell Yunatsite in the summer of 2017. Her goal was to experience the real atmosphere and challenges at an archaeological dig. So she spent four weeks “dusting dust off dust” at a seven-thousand-year-old prehistoric mound in Southern Bulgaria. What we did not know at the time is that while she was uncovering the distant past at Yunatsite with a trowel, she was also working to discover the truth about more recent events in the archaeological community. Namely, the back then unsolved cold case at one of the world’s most prestigious anthropology departments.

In 2020 Becky Cooper published her novel “We Keep the Dead Close: a Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence” which became a  New York Times bestseller shortly upon its release. In it she tells the compelling true crime story of graduate student Jane Britton who was murdered in 1969 by one of her professors… or so the legend goes. During her ten-year investigation, Becky Cooper meets not only Jane’s family and friends but also interviews many prominent figures in academia. Her book is as much an homage to Jane Britton, as well as a peek behind the curtain into the world of archaeology both today and 50 years into the past.

You can read an interview with Becky Cooper about her investigation and writing process and find out the latest news about Tell Yunatsite here.