Books

Myth-and-Materiality

Review – Myth and Materiality

Students of Irish archaeology will be familiar with John Waddell’s Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland. This new publication is far removed from that sturdy workhorse, offering hypotheses on the symbiotic relationship between myth and archaeology.

Sites of Prehistoric Life in Northern Ireland_1

Review – Sites of Prehistoric Life in Northern Ireland

Neither Harry nor June Welsh require an introduction in Northern Irish archaeology, being the authors – both jointly and separately – of two publications on the province’s heritage: Tomb Travel (2011) and The Prehistoric Burial Sites of Northern Ireland (2014). Their most recent is very much the companion volume to the burial sites book.

In-the-shadow-of-Corinium

Review – In the Shadow of Corinium: prehistoric and Roman occupation at Kingshill South, Cirencester, Gloucestershire

This new publication by Oxford Archaeology is a monograph report of an excavation undertaken between 2009 and 2013 ahead of house-building just outside the site of the Roman town of Corinium – modern Cirencester. It is copiously illustrated in full colour, with thorough accounts of the archaeological sequence, the finds, biological evidence, and radiocarbon dating, plus a synthesis and discussion.

Londinium

Review – Londinium: a biography

A biography normally explores the life of an individual person, but in this wide-ranging new book, Richard Hingley (Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Durham) tells the story of an entire town and the lives and livelihoods of its occupants over the course of five centuries.

Viking-Nottinghamshire

Review – Viking Nottinghamshire

Once part of Mercia, Nottingham was a key Anglo- Saxon settlement that became one of the five Boroughs of the Danelaw. It is therefore surprising that – according to a foreword by eminent Viking scholar Professor Judith Jesch – this slim volume is the first to be dedicated to Viking Age Nottinghamshire, but it is an informative guide to the region’s early medieval heritage, and an enjoyable read.

The-Stonehenge-Bluestones

Review – The Stonehenge Bluestones

The Stonehenge Bluestones is a semi-glossy, well-produced, slim, populist volume that, after ten years, replaces John’s earlier book, The Bluestone Enigma. It is the better of the two, with fewer factual errors, less immoderate language, and a closer understanding of the complexities of the ‘problem’: whence did the bluestones come and how were they moved to Salisbury Plain?

Chambered-Tombs-of-the-Isle-of-Man

Review – The Chambered Tombs of the Isle of Man: a study by Audrey Henshall 1969-1978

The Isle of Man lies at the centre of the Irish Sea and is characterised by its own insular traditions, while also being subject to influences from all those regions surrounding the sea – as well as beyond. This is evident in the megalithic monumental tradition described within this volume, which presents the evidence from Man and places it in its wider context. This definitive account will appeal to scholars of British prehistory, as well as those interested in Manx studies. Although the initial research took place several decades ago, the editors have conscientiously reviewed and updated it.

Paths-to-the-Past

Review – Paths to the Past: encounters with Britain’s hidden landscapes

If anyone is capable of introducing the casual reader to the landscapes of Britain it is Professor Francis Pryor. In a career spanning the last 30 years, he has brought to life lost environments, settlements, and human experience at some of the most ephemeral and enigmatic sites through his archaeological excavations – and, latterly, his books. His latest volume is an anthology of his experiences of various British landscapes, and his personal responses to them.

The-Outcast-Dead

Review – The Outcast Dead: the effect of the New Poor Law on the health and diet of London’s post-medieval poor

Based on the results of the author’s MPhil research at Durham University, this volume examines an intriguing hypothesis: that the introduction of the New Poor Law in 1834 had such a profound effect on the diet of the poor that it left visible traces on their bones. It does so by interrogating historical data, with an osteological assessment of the health of five buried populations.

The-Art-of-the-Roman-Empire

Review – The Art of the Roman Empire AD 100-450

This is the second edition of what has become a standard work on Roman art, and covers the period described as the Second Sophistic – a time that saw a seismic transformation in the art and architecture of the empire. Some of the illustrations and a chapter examining the influence of Roman art beyond the empire are new, but the older material has lost none of its relevance and power.

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