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Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice Paperback – 5 Mar 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd; 6 edition (5 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500290210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500290217
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 3.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This bestseller is a student essential. --Current Archaeology

About the Author

Paul Bahn is one of the world's leading scholars and popularizers of archaeology. He is the author or co-author of more than thirty books, including The Cambridge Illustrated History of Prehistoric Art and, most recently, Prehistoric Rock Art: Polemics and Progress. His articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including Nature, and he is an editorial consultant to Archaeology Magazine, DIG, and the Rapa Nui Journal.

Colin Renfrew (Professor Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn) is Emeritus Disney Professor and Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University. He is the author and editor of a large number of publications, including Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice, with Paul Bahn, which is one of the standard textbooks on the subject. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This a first class book on all aspects of archaeology including the history of archaeology, surveying sites, dating methods, the organisation of societies (sociology, environment, diet, tools, contact, thought processes), migration and change, and careers in archaeology. The book got an excellent review by Peter Clayton in Minerva magazine.

This is heavy book; its 656 pages on quality paper and filled with colour illustrations. It is also a heavy read and not for those who want to skip through an easy introduction to the subject. If you want a serious introduction to archaeology, this is the book for you.
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I approached this textbook having read the somewhat shorter text by Kevin Greene and Tom Moore entitled Archaeology: An Introduction, which I found an excellent introduction to an area of study in which I am very much a newcomer.

I put off reading this book because it looked so daunting: coming on for 600 pages plus a detailed bibliography and comprehensive index. In the event, however, there was absolutely no problem. The text, especially in this sixth edition, is vividly illustrated. The main narrative and analysis are punctuated by "articles" on specific topics. Some of these were quite fascinating in the sudden, brief insight into archaeological investigations that were previously completely unknown to me. One example is the section on quantifying animal bones, which makes reference to a Bronze Age village in Spain.

It is quite difficult to make the comparison between the two books. To an extent, of course, they cover the same ground and matters such as the latest techniques for updating are inevitably quite complex and make for challenging reading whoever is writing about them. I suppose a greater sense of the richness of the subject comes from Renfrew and Bahn but I would happily go back to either if I wanted to check out aspects of the theory or practice of archaeology. For sheer enjoyment, I'd probably stick with Renfrew and Bahn again - mainly, to be honest, because of the illustrations. However, I think we are fortunate to have two such excellent introductions readily available.
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This book is aimed at the undergraduate student and it fits its purpose well. Assuming no prior knowledge of archaeology (as yet I've not heard of an Archaeology A-level) it leads the student through all the aspects they will encounter on the first and second years of an archaeology degree. It starts with the history of the subject and progressing through import archaeologists, methods and explanations.

It is clearly written and offers fantastic illustrations and colour pictures to supplement this. Each subject area is covered diligently introducing the student to it but not bewildering them with too much information.

I believe at the time of my writing this review this book is a core text on most Archaeology degrees.

This book would also be invaluable to the amateur archaeologist as well as it offers an introduction to the subject.
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This is no light weight quick guide at 650 pages and 1.5 kgs. It should be enough to get an unadventurous student through first year and beyond. The authors' academic focus is obvious. The `how to' section of the book is less than a quarter of the whole. Even this deals extensively with the history of archaeology and how the work was done in the past. There were some scoundrels: even Schliemann, discoverer of Troy, manipulated his evidence. Modern techniques are dealt with but only enough to whet the appetite. You will search in vain for instructions on how to set out a field for field walking. However, numerous panels and a fine selection of photographs and diagrams make for absorbing reading.

The dominant section deals with such questions as `how were societies organized?' `What were the members' diets, tools, trades, arts and beliefs?' `Why did things change?' Just think next time you are walking a freezing field that the purpose is to give yourself a better understanding of developments in ancient societies and hence our own. These are the questions we would all like to answer. Unfortunately the authors also have their eyes on the American market and a few dollars there. Consequently many of the examples discussed are about native American, Inca and other American societies which we find much more difficult to relate to than Europe and the Middle East.

The last section poses interesting questions of ethics and the misuse of the past for political purposes. It then moves on to discuss our responsibility for preservation - and the opposite, the destruction of monuments by tourism, war and religious or ethnic jealousies. Afghanistan, Iraq and the former Yugoslavia vie for a place here. Finally, to inspire the student, there are five profiles of career archaeologists.
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Really straighforward to understand, well set out with lots of case studies highlighted separately. Ideal for a college course I'm currently studying and will also come in useful as it is on the recommended reading list for my university degree I'll be studying later in the year.
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I'm starting a "History with Archaeology" joint honours degree this September and this text book is on the required reading list.

Firstly, the book is hefty! Yes academic books are expensive, but trust me, you're getting a good deal here.
Secondly, the book is really well laid out. Sorted by chapter, it's very easy to find what you're looking for using either the contents page or the index.

If you've got a passing interest in archaeology maybe look elsewhere, but if you want to get deep, buy this book. It's completely packed with information, a multitude of photographs and illustrations, all of which are beautifully rendered in colour (for the first time according to the introduction).

I would wholeheartedly recommend this book, but I'd suggest you also buy a bag with wide straps to carry it in.
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