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on 16 August 2017
Very good book
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on 31 August 2011
Over the last two years I have been studying for an A Level (AS then A2) in Archaeology at home whilst working full-time. I did not do evening classes, and did not do any online or distance learning course. I had no prior knowledge of Archaeology other than years watching Time Team. As such, I had no guidance on what to study other than the AQA syllabus which is obviously only a rough guide to subject areas. I bought this book and was extremely glad that I did. It is written by the AQA examiners, and fits the syllabus entirely, including the specific case studies that need to be studied in more detail. It is very easy to read, not too scientific, and makes good suggestions on where to look for more detailed information including a number of useful websites. In addition, there is a very good section on the ARCH 3 module (the project) including what type of proposal for study is accepted, and what type of information to look for. In short, it is well worth the money to show you exactly what is going to be examined and how to gain better marks. However, it is not a dry textbook aimed only at A Level (or first year degree students)and is well worth reading just to gain a better knowledge of the subject if you enjoy the past and want to know a bit more about what they are talking about on Time Team etc. I have since visited some of the places highlighted in my local area that I would not have known about otherwise. In terms of the exam and project, I used this as the starting point for understanding what it was all about, and then did further research in more specialised books, particularly in terms of the case studies to get a wider and more detailed perspective in the knowledge that I was not wasting my time studying subjects unlikely to feature in the exam. As a result, I scored 399/400 overall in the four units which I put down entirely to the excellent material this book provides - thanks to the authors!
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on 20 June 2012
The rating for this review reflects not the quality of the book itself, but that of the kindle edition. The print book contains peripheral text boxes that enhances the core text with additional information and supplementing resources. However, in the kindle edition, these text boxes are not set aside in convenient margin settings, but in fact intrude unannounced within the core text. The result is that as you read, all of a sudden, mid-sentence, the main text is interrupted with this peripheral information and the main text may not resume for several pages. The result is a text that is bewildering, frustrating, immensely difficult to read and not worth downloading even if it were free... Given that such problems occur with nearly every page, you are infinitely better off buying the print edition. The kindle edition should embarrass and shame whomever is responsible for its unforgivable existence - were they drunk at work? I cannot work out how such an awful, unusable product was approved for sale.
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on 14 April 2015
Somebody here complains about the title; actually the title is perfect. What this is, is a book enabling you to complete a course (and get a qualification) in archaeology. I guess we can't say we weren't warned, then, but you would hope a good textbook would also be of use and interest to the general reader. I don't think this is. It tells you what archaeologists do, I suppose; but it doesn't tell you how to be an archaeologist.

The political correctness of it irritates me. It tells us that there are no differences between people caused by race or sex. These are not results derived from evidence - that would be fair enough. They are prior beliefs: in a word, prejudices. 'Racially we are all homo sapiens', it says. Actually, no; homo sapiens is a species and, like a number of other species, is made up of several different races. What makes them races is that there are *differences between them*. It may be that the influence of these differences on history is negligible; but (if the subject is going to be considered at all) that is something to find out - not something to treat as an article of faith.

It goes on to make highly misleading use of anthropological work on the 'Bushman' !Kung people about the division of sex roles. And if there is no difference between sexes, why is it worthy of remark that Minoan society may have been matriarchal? We're even afraid of hurting the feelings of the Ancient Britons, or the Beaker People or whoever, by not giving them enough credit for Stonehenge.

That's the things: while telling us not to make value judgements, the authors are in fact making everything the occasion for a value judgement. Conclusions are being weighed, not for their truth, but for the extent to which they confirm the investigator's ideology. That's no way to conduct any kind of research; everybody has their perspective, but as far as possible historians and archaeologists need to - as one put it - 'follow where the facts lead'. Really, the message here is that archaeology is not a tool for finding about the past; it's a way of justifying the beliefs we already hold about society today. It's depressing to think that our kids are being taught this intellectual dishonesty.
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on 21 November 2012
I have always had an interest in History and Archaeology, This book is ideal if you want to learn the techniques used, not only in field archaeology but every aspect of the subject, if you are a beginner it is easy to read and the sections are well laid out with all abbreviations fully explained.
Some great pictures and diagrams help explain the subject, so if you are an A level student, a keen amateur or just interested in the subject, this is the book for you
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on 7 May 2011
My course tutor recommended this book for the Archaeology course I'm doing and I've found it really useful. It is, on the whole, very technical whilst still managing to be fairly concise and useful.
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on 9 November 2013
Extraordinary. Absolutely nothing on how to survey a site. This has to be one of the most basic skills required for any serious archaeology student.
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on 15 October 2011
This was bought for my son as it was the one book his lecturer told us he needed, my son thinks it's easy to follow and helps with his studies (translated from the usual teenage grunts. I have picked it up once or twice out of interest and I find it easy to follow and very informative.
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on 23 June 2016
Useful for archaeology degrees
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on 11 January 2015
A good book for an Undergrad.
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