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Great book but poor langauge
on 16 February 2015
A very impressive book that makes you wish there were more like it on other topics: it is detailed, accessible, beautifully illustrated and bound and gives the reader the rare feeling of being informed to the very depth of the current knowledge on a topic.
However, I can only give 3 stars, because the book seriously lacks in quality of language. It is not the archeological terms which go unexplained (e.g. horizon, focus, stratum etc.) since they are self-evident enough for a layman, like me, to catch on, but rather the overall jargon which is quite tedious for the non-expert reader. The sentences are long and convoluted, which I assume is the standard in academic publications and therefore the acquired style of the author. But it is, in my opinion, not necessary as many examples of well written archeological publications illustrate. What really puts me off a little is the use of vocabulary that seems artificially high-brow and entirely unnecessary. The pretentiousness of the language is underlined by the repeated wrong use of the expression "... begs the question”. The author uses it in the colloquial sense, which would be fine if the rest of his language would be on the same level, but like this it leaves the feeling that the complicated language is used as device to add superficial gravity to the account, like a pose the author strikes but is not able to carry. It also points towards a serious lack of language editing on part of the publisher.
Anyway, I still recommend the book, also for casual reading. The subject is fascinating and the presentation beautiful. Just don’t expect it to be light reading.