Books

The-Oxford-Handbook-of-Historical-Ecology-and-Applied-Archaeology

Review – The Oxford Handbook of Historical Ecology and Applied Archaeology

This collection of papers examines the place of humans within their global ecosystem, along with their long-term modification of, and responses to, it. The book brings together contributors and subject areas from the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and landscape history in order to address major environmental issues, including lessons to be learned regarding water security, sustainable agricultural practice, and nature conservation.

Making-a-Mark

Review – Making a Mark: image and process in Neolithic Britain and Ireland

Making a Mark focuses on decorated portable artefacts from mainly the Neolithic, and provides the reader with an excellent discussion forum. Across the book’s 15 chapters, the authors discuss a number of issues, such as the would-be relationship between certain motifs found on both portable and static art (for instance, passage grave megalithic art). For this, the authors use several core areas of Neolithic Britain and Ireland.

Durovigutum

Review – Durovigutum: Roman Godmanchester

This large, handsome volume, organised into 11 well-crafted chapters and associated appendices, describes the trenching rationale from 25 sites and reveals the former street and building layout of the town, along with a vast artefact assemblage. The systematic and careful editorial not only brings to light an excellent synthesis of the fieldwork but also reveals something of the character of a man who spent 30 years of his life digging this significant Roman site.

Avanke,-Bever,-Castor

Review – Avanke, Bever, Castor: the story of beavers in Wales

In this fascinating book, Bryony Coles charts the history of beavers in Wales, from their earliest evidence dating to the Ice Age (found in Pontnewydd Cave in North Wales) to historical evidence that suggests that they continued to exist in Wales as late as the 18th century. The book explores the biology and behaviour of beavers and the physical evidence of their presence, and along the way considers the impact they had in medieval and later culture.

Citadel-of-the-Saxons

Review – Citadel of the Saxons: the rise of early London

Written with an evocative turn of phrase and a sharp eye for interesting detail, Citadel of the Saxons is packed full of information, and impressive in its scope given that it is under 200 pages long. Rory begins his account in the 5th century amidst the ruins of Roman London, before tracing the settlement’s rebirth and rise to new heights of prosperity, ending with the Norman Conquest of 1066.

Our-Lincolnshire

Review – ‘Our Lincolnshire’: exploring public engagement with heritage

Based on the ‘Our Lincolnshire’ project, this book details the project’s aim of connecting the people of Lincolnshire with the rural heritage of their region, and the challenges this presented. Given that one of the core issues with public archaeology is the lack of data on its effects and effectiveness, this volume represents an important starting point for community evaluation and engagement.

Landscape-Beneath-the-Waves

Review – Landscape Beneath the Waves: the archaeological investigation of underwater landscapes

Caroline Wickham- Jones offers a useful, if at times rather dry, overview of current research on submerged landscapes around the world. The realisation that sea levels were up to 140m lower globally at the height of the last Ice Age (26,000 to 19,000 years ago) – reaching present-day levels only around 5,000 years ago – is arguably one of the most important advances in archaeology over the last decade. Despite numerous scientific papers and important projects, an accessible overview of this work has been lacking and, as a result, this book is to be welcomed.

Thurrock's-Deeper-Past

Review – Thurrock’s Deeper Past: a confluence of time

Christopher Tripp takes readers on a tour of Thurrock’s past, from the Palaeolithic (tools having been found at Purfleet, for example) to the Saxon period (Mucking being the stand-out site in this period). In between, there is the Iron Age enclosed settlement at Orsett, Roman pottery kilns at Grays, and much more besides.

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