Reviews

Blick-Mead

Review – Blick Mead: exploring the ‘first place’ in the Stonehenge landscape

This is a well-rounded and readable account of research undertaken at Blick Mead, and one that undeniably establishes the site’s importance in adding to our understanding of the British Mesolithic, and of the wider Stonehenge landscape. Recollections from some of the project volunteers, which are printed at the start of each chapter, are a fitting tribute to the team’s community involvement and how many people have given their time to help investigate the site. But this monograph also serves as a timely reminder of the site’s significance at a time when the spring and its ancient contents are reportedly threatened by plans for the forthcoming Stonehenge tunnel.

Clash-of-Cultures

Review – Clash of Cultures? The Romano-British period in the West Midlands

This volume has been 16 years in the making, its origins being found in a regional research framework seminar in 2002. While most of the contributions in the book were presented as papers at that seminar, they are by no means out of date, however, having taken into account, for example, recent excavations and the latest data from the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Life-and-Death-in-the-Countryside-of-Roman-Britain

Review – Life and Death in the Countryside of Roman Britain

This is the third and final volume in the New Visions of the Countryside of Roman Britain series, whose geographical scope is England and Wales. The latest volume, like its companions, focuses on the people who lived in the countryside, probably accounting for some 90% of the population of Roman Britain. By concentrating on the majority of poorer rural dwellers, the text offers a contrast to the elite occupants of grand countryside villas. This volume attempts a social archaeology of rural lives.

Relief-of-Ashurbanipal-hunting-on-horseback-new

Review – I am Ashurbanipal

When the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal took the throne in 669 BC, his empire was at its height. As well as defeating enemies in violent confl ict and hunting lions, Ashurbanipal saw himself as a scholar and amassed a vast royal library. A major exhibition at the British Museum takes a close look at this self-described ‘king of the world’ and the Assyrians in Iraq, Syria, and beyond. Lucia Marchini went along to find out more.

Coinage-in-the-Northumbrian-Landscape-and-Economy

Review – Coinage in the Northumbrian Landscape and Economy

Northern England’s monetary history was quite distinct from that of the south in the pre-Viking period, and Abramson’s ambitious book is one of the few sustained discussions of it. Across eight chapters that fizz with new information, he establishes the idiosyncratic framework of Northumbrian coinage in terms of what he (with tongue only partly in cheek) calls gold, silver, and bronze.

Legacies-of-the-First-World-War

Review – Legacies of the First World War

When we think of the First World War, our minds inevitably turn to the barren quagmires of war-torn northern France and Belgium, the squalid conditions and boredom of life in the trenches, the excitement and fear of going over the top, and what seems to us to have been the senseless slaughter of millions of soldiers. While this is all true, Legacies of the First World War reminds us that the war was fought on many fronts, not least in England, with much of the evidence of the home front still present for us to discover.

Creating-Society-and-Constructing-the-Past

Review – Creating Society and Constructing the Past

The traditional chronological divisions of prehistory are a useful means of breaking down a dauntingly long period of human history, but carry the risk of presenting prehistory as a series of self-contained chunks, rather than a continuum. In this exciting volume, Alex Davies demonstrates the value of looking beyond a single period to investigate change and continuity over a thousand years or so in the Thames Valley.

Life-on-the-Edge

Review – Life on the Edge: the Neolithic and Bronze Age of Iain Crawford’s Udal, North Uist

In 1974, later prehistoric structures, including the remains of a kerb-chambered cairn, were discovered at Udal on the Hebridean island of North Uist. The discovery prompted archaeologist Iain Crawford to undertake a three-year excavation of the site during the early 1990s. This revealed a variety of burial-ritual structures, comprising a stone cist with datable human remains, bowl pits, and two late Neolithic structures incorporated into a larger ritual complex.

The-Roman-Pottery-Manufacturing-Site-in-Highgate-Wood

Review – The Roman Pottery Manufacturing Site in Highgate Wood: excavations 1966-78

This highly anticipated volume brings together the results of excavations of Roman kilns and associated features by volunteers in a public park in the London borough of Haringey, and detailed analysis of some 1,200kg of recovered pottery. As if making up for lost time, the authors treat readers to information in several forms. There is the traditional monograph, a free digital version, and an online typology.

London's-Waterfront-1100-1666

Review – London’s Waterfront 1100-1666: excavations in Thames Street, London, 1974-84

Anybody interested in the rich archaeology of London will be familiar with high-standard and detailed publications by the Museum of London and other professional archaeological companies. London’s Waterfront, published by Archaeopress, is no exception, but it stands out by adding new dimensions to what we know and what we do not yet know about the capital’s history.

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