This year’s winner of Book of the Year 2012 is Becoming an Archaeologist: a guide to professional pathways by Joe Flatman, as reviewed in issue 260 of Current Archaeology.
This free and frank discussion of life as an archaeologist in the UK, USA, and Australia pulls no punches. Some of Flatman’s assessments of typical pay and working conditions may seem pessimistic, but his enthusiasm for the discipline shines through. This comprehensive volume is a treasure trove of advice for anyone aspiring to enter the field.
On receiving the award, Joe Flatman said:
‘Writing a book that the readers of Current Archaeology like so much is really pleasing. If you can’t create something that appeals to your readers — who represent all ages and all kinds of people — then what is the point of writing at all?’
This year has brought many excellent new books through our door, but the following titles are those we feel deserve special recognition, and were also nominated in this category.
Barry Cunliffe/John Koch
It was long thought that Celtic-speaking peoples first appeared in west-central Europe in the 5th or 6th century BC, but this daring volume argues a radically different case. In a move sure to inspire lively debate, Koch and Cunliffe suggest proto-Celtic in fact arose among Bronze Age traders with Eastern Mediterranean contacts and spread from Iberia to Orkney as a commercial lingua franca.
Jim Leary/David Field
This accessibly-written book explores one of the most enigmatic monuments of the late Neolithic. Supported by a wealth of plans and diagrams, Field and Leary take their readers through the mound’s multiple stages of construction, as well as the centuries of investigations which pulled it apart again, ultimately leading to the top collapsing in 2002.
Bridging the gap between the late Bronze and Iron Ages for the first time, Sharples presents an alternative account of later prehistoric society. This book elegantly synthesises previous scholarship on the subject and sets an ambitious new agenda for the study of this period.
The Roman Empire’s frontiers span three continents, covering 4800 miles across 20 modern countries. Today their walls stand as a physical reminder of both Rome’s expansive ambitions and the ultimate limitations of these. Breeze charts the development of these fortifications, considering whether they were intended as physical barriers or merely reflective of the Romans’ love of spectacular architecture.