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      Bookshelf: a selection of recent publications at the UCL Institute of Archaeology

      1 ,
      Archaeology International
      UCL Press

            Main article text

            The Institute of Archaeology publishes two series of books, the General series and the Critical Cultural Heritage series. So far these consist of over 90 titles, most recently published in partnership with Routledge (Taylor & Francis). Discussions with a new publisher are at an advanced stage and, when complete, will offer an exciting and innovative way forward to showcase the Institute’s high-quality research across the full spectrum of world archaeology, archaeological science, heritage studies (including conservation and museum studies) and cognate disciplines.

            Jayne Carroll, Andrew Reynolds and Barbara Yorke, eds. 2020. Power and Place in Europe in the Early Middle Ages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

            This volume brings together a series of case studies of spatial configurations of power among the early medieval societies of Europe. The geographical range extends from Ireland to Kosovo and from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean world. The book brings together quite different scholarly traditions in a focused enquiry into the character of places of power, from the end of the Roman period to the central Middle Ages.

            Giles Dawkes. 2020. The Medieval Hospital of St Mary’s and Other Features: Excavations at Friary Place, Strood, Kent. Portslade: Archaeology South-East/SpoilHeap.

            The archaeological investigations at Friary Place, Strood, Kent identified four main periods of archaeological activity from the Late Bronze Age to the nineteenth century. The most significant findings were evidence of Bronze Age and Roman salt working, a Roman and early medieval palaeochannel and saltmarsh deposits, the remains of the medieval hospital of St Mary’s and seventeenth-century and later post-medieval buildings. In addition, a moderate assemblage of finds and environmental evidence was recovered.

            David Graeber and David Wengrow. 2021. The Dawn of Everything: A new history of humanity. London: Penguin

            Drawing on path-breaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we begin to see what is really there. If humans did not spend 95 per cent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organisation did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected, suggesting that the course of history may be less set in stone, and fuller of playful possibilities, than we tend to assume.

            Manuel Fernández-Götz, Andrew Gardner, Guillermo Díaz de Liaño and Oliver J. T. Harris, eds. 2021. ‘Debating posthumanism in archaeology’. Special issue, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 31 (3).

            This special issue of the Cambridge Archaeological Journal features a wide range of perspectives on one of the major recent trends in archaeological theory. Various strands of posthumanist philosophy have influenced archaeologists to propose more or less radical reframings of the relationships between people and things, offering new insights but also generating significant critical reflection. The breadth of viewpoints in this special issue significantly advances the debate around this fundamental theme in twenty-first-century archaeology.

            Sue Hamilton and Ruth Whitehouse, eds. 2020. Neolithic Spaces: Social and sensory landscapes of the first farmers of Italy, Vols 1 and 2. London: Accordia.

            Neolithic Spaces publishes research conducted within the Tavoliere-Gargano Prehistory Project. The volumes record research on Neolithic sites of the Tavoliere plain, southeast Italy, studied at regional, inter-site and intra-site scales. The work explores the social use and organisation of landscape and ‘taskscapes’. It combines innovative and traditional methods, including interpretation of aerial photographs, surface survey and mapping, as well as approaches for understanding the human experiential aspects of ‘dwelling’ in prehistory (phenomenology/sensory archaeology).

            Rodney Harrison. 2020. Il patrimonio culturale: Un approccio critico. Translated by Vincenzo Matera and Luca Rimoldi. Turin: Pearson Italia.

            Rodney Harrison. 2021. 文化和自然遗产:批判性思路. Translated by Fan Jialing, Wang Siyu, Mo Jiajing, Shen Shan, Zhang Lifan and Han Boya. Shanghai: Shanghai Chinese Classics.

            These are the Italian and Chinese language translations of Heritage: Critical approaches by Rodney Harrison, first published by Routledge in 2013.

            Andrew Margetts. 2021. The Wandering Herd: The medieval cattle economy of South-East England c.450–1450. Macclesfield: Windgather Press.

            This is the first volume to take a detailed look at the development of cattle husbandry and specialised cattle farming in southeast England throughout the medieval period. The Wandering Herd demonstrates the importance of cattle within the evolution of medieval society, settlement and landscape. It also suggests how we can learn from forgotten management regimes to inform, shape and develop our future countryside.

            Stephen Mileson and Stuart Brookes. 2021. Peasant Perceptions of Landscape: Ewelme Hundred, South Oxfordshire, 500–1650. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

            The book considers how ordinary people experienced and perceived their material environment and shows how they constructed their identities in relation to the places where they lived. Taking as its focus Ewelme Hundred, a well-documented and archaeologically rich area of lowland vale and hilly Chiltern wood-pasture, the analysis draws on a range of sources, from above- and below-ground archaeology to legal depositions to thousands of fieldnames and bynames preserved in largely unpublished deeds and manorial documents.

            Gianluca Miniaci. 2020. The Middle Kingdom Ramesseum Papyri Tomb and its Archaeological Context, Kitab. Egyptology in Focus 1. Bedford: Nicanor Books.

            In 1895–96 William Matthew Flinders Petrie and James Edward Quibell discovered a shaft-tomb below the ‘Ramesseum’, the funerary temple of Ramses II at Thebes, Egypt. The tomb is most famous for having held the largest group of Middle Kingdom papyri – also known as the Ramesseum Papyri – found in a single spot, along with a number of distinctive objects such as carved ivory tusks and miniature figurines in various materials dated around the eighteenth century bce. Gianluca Miniaci attempts thoroughly to reconstruct the archaeological context of the tomb: the exact find spot (forgotten shortly after its discovery), its architecture, the identity of its owner(s) and recipient(s) of the assemblage of artefacts. A detailed analysis of the single artefacts, accompanied for the first time by full colour photographic records and drawings, and their network of relations gives vivid new life to the Ramesseum assemblage, more than a century after its discovery.

            Mike Parker Pearson, Joshua Pollard, Colin Richards, Julian Thomas, Chris Tilley and Kate Welham. 2020. Stonehenge for the Ancestors. Part 1: Landscape and Monuments. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

            This is the first of four volumes which present the results of the long-term fieldwork project to investigate the purpose of this monument. It includes investigations of the monuments and landscape that pre-dated Stonehenge as well as of the excavation at Stonehenge itself. The main discovery at Stonehenge was of cremated human remains from many individuals, allowing their demography, health and dating to be established. With a revised radiocarbon-dated chronology for Stonehenge’s five stages of construction, these burials can now be considered within the context of the monument’s development. The different types of stone from which Stonehenge is formed – bluestones from Wales and sarsen silcretes from more local sources – are investigated both at Stonehenge and in their surroundings.

            Renata F. Peters, Iris L. F. den Boer, Jessica J. Johnson and Susanna Pancaldo, eds. 2020. Heritage Conservation and Social Engagement. London: UCL Press.

            Heritage Conservation and Social Engagement explores different kinds of engagement, participation, access and creative use of resources motivated by the practice of conservation. It also offers ethical and practical perspectives from which to approach cultural heritage projects. The chapters are structured around the themes of engagement and participation, with an emphasis on the value of cross-disciplinary collaborations and the adoption of more encompassing approaches to conservation decision-making.

            Matt Pope, Simon Parfitt and Mark Roberts. 2020. The Horse Butchery Site: A high resolution record of Lower Palaeolithic hominin behaviour at Boxgrove, UK. London: Archaeology South-East/SpoilHeap.

            The Boxgrove Horse Butchery Site represents a significant discovery, preserving a single land surface associated with tight clusters of flint artefacts and the butchered remains of a large female horse, sealed under intertidal silts. This volume presents the first integrated analysis of this exceptional site. It documents the evidence used to reconstruct activities including biface manufacture, defleshing of bones, marrow extraction and the production of bone tools.

            Corinna Riva. 2020. A Short History of the Etruscans. London: Bloomsbury.

            Unlike their Greek and Latin neighbours, the Etruscans left no textual sources. The only direct evidence for studying them is the archaeological record. The Etruscans must therefore be approached as if they were a prehistoric people; the enormous wealth of visual and material culture must speak for them. Applying fresh archaeological discoveries and new insights, Corinna Riva engagingly conducts the reader through the first millennium bce in Etruscan Italy and the ideas, from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century, that shaped our understanding.

            Bethany Walker, Timothy Insoll and Corisande Fenwick, eds. 2021. The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

            This richly illustrated Handbook is the first comprehensive global survey of the archaeology of the Islamic world, spanning the Atlantic Coast to China and Scandinavia to sub-Saharan Africa. Leading international scholars address such themes as the timing and process of Islamisation, cities and countryside, cultural hybridity, cultural and religious diversity, natural resource management, trade and migration and Islamic cultural heritage. It is the essential reference work on the key debates in Islamic archaeology today.

            Chris Wingfield, John Giblin and Rachel King. 2020. The Pasts and Presence of Art in South Africa: Technologies, ontologies and agents. Cambridge: Cambridge McDonald Institute Monograph.

            An interdisciplinary exploration of the long career of art in South Africa, from earliest humans to the present day. Contributors from archaeology, history, art history and anthropology considered art in three modes (technology, ontology and agent) of human experience and were asked to think expansively about the term’s content. Topics include parietal art, protest art, arts of interaction and exploration, colour and decolonialism.

            BAR series

            In 2019 the Institute launched a new series with BAR Publishing to publish largely unaltered PhDs. This substantial series promotes the Institute’s outstanding postgraduate research programme across the theory and practice of archaeology, conservation and heritage. Three books have been published in 2020 (the earliest of which was featured in Archaeology International 23), with a further volume accepted for imminent publication.

            Youri van den Hurk. 2020. On the Hunt for Medieval Whales: Zooarchaeological, historical and social perspectives on cetacean exploitation in medieval northern and western Europe.

            Medieval cetacean (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) exploitation was associated with ninth–twelfth-century medieval societies, such as the Basques, Norse, Normans and Flemish, with perhaps a symbolic significance and consumption restricted to the social elite. Difficulties in identifying to species level have hampered studies of past human-cetacean interactions. Zooarchaeological research reveals that this exploitation frequently focused on the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis).

            Rhiannon Comeau. 2020. Land, People and Power in Early Medieval Wales: The cantref of Cemais in comparative perspective.

            This study of the seasonal activity cycles of a pre-urban society uses an early medieval Welsh case study to demonstrate that key areas – agriculture, tribute payment, legal processes and hunting – share a seasonal patterning preserved in medieval Welsh law, church and well dedications and fair dates. Limitations in the archaeological record and written sources are circumnavigated using a GIS-based multi-disciplinary analysis and digital resources, including databases of geolocated pre-1700 place-names and sixteenth-century demesne and Welsh-law landholdings.

            Author and article information

            Archaeology International
            UCL Press (UK )
            30 December 2021
            : 24
            : 1
            : 36-44
            [1 ]UCL Institute of Archaeology, UK
            Author notes
            Copyright © 2021, Barney Harris

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            Page count
            Figures: 17, Pages: 9

            Archaeology,Cultural studies


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