New Book Chronicle

By Hummler, Madeleine | Antiquity, June 2011 | Go to article overview

New Book Chronicle


Hummler, Madeleine, Antiquity


In one way or another all the books featured in this chronicle's selection are about how things are done in archaeology. How to record and dig sites, how to manage landscapes, how to present them, how it was done in the past. This leads to some thinking aloud on the theme of 'best practice' while also highlighting some outstanding achievements, indeed 'best practice' without the prescription.

Down on site

Our first three books take us onto site, from the very specific (Pavel on context records), via the comprehensive (Tassie & Owen's excavation manual) to the more general (Drewett's second edition introduction to field archaeology).

CATALIN PAVEL. Describing and interpreting the past: European and American approaches to the written record of the excavation. 262 pages, 100 figures. 2010. Bucharest: University of Bucharest; 978-973-737-881-1 paperback New Lei 33.

G.J. TASSIE & L.S. OWENS. Standards of archaeological excavation: a field guide (Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation Monograph Series 1). xxiv+576 page, 195 figures, 49 tables, CD-ROM. 2010. London: Golden House; 978-1-906137-17-5 paperback 39.99 [pounds sterling].

PETER L. DREWETT. Field archaeology: an introduction. xviii+182 pages, 100 illustrations. Second edition 2011 (first published in 1999 by UCL Press). Abingdon & New York: Routledge: 978-0-415-55118-2 hardback; 978-0-203-8307-1 ebook; 978-0-415-55119-9 paperback 21.99 [pounds sterling].

CATALIN PAVEL's book on European and American approaches to the written record of the excavation is a University of Bucharest doctoral dissertation which included a period of study at Oxford under the guidance of Gary Lock. Pavel's task was to collect and analyse the different forms used for recording strata and assemblages on excavations in Europe, America and the Near East. He collected 60 examples, from Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Greece (Knossos and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens), Turkey (the University of Tubingen at Troy), the USA, Cuba, Canada (the University of Toronto at Madaba), Australia (La Trobe University at Marki in Cyprus), Africa (UCL expeditions to Volubilis and Mali) and he has done us a great service by reproducing all these forms in 100 pages of figures--the last 2 figures being his own design for recording archaeological contexts and features in Romania. These are accompanied by an 80-page commentary on the pro formae and the systems of recording governing this activity. The book also contains 60 pages of introductory discussions and a short conclusion.

The figures and commentary are the most useful part of the book and we must thank Pavel for bringing to the attention of excavators the variety of systems used by institutions and companies, thus dispelling the idea that there is only one way (or adaptations of one system) to record deposits 'properly'. He contributes pertinent insights and useful observations, for example on the relationship between contexts and features (the latter also named locus, installation, structure, group, ser, complex, Befundkomplex, fait, unite de fouille englobante or even 'built-in site furniture') and on stratigraphic diagrams or Harris Matrixes [sic]. He champions the latter, but some archaeologists might object to the statement that 'A revolution in the way sites are recorded was brought about by the novel approach in thinking [sic] archaeological sites pioneered by Harris's vision of stratigraphic units, and firstly applied by the Department of Urban Archaeology at the GPO site in 1975' (p. 62). This overlooks the innovations of York for example (see p. 4 of Tassie & Owen's manual, below, which gives credit to Max Foster at York in 1972) and no doubt many other examples elsewhere. It is tempting to point out what the book does not contain, but this would be ungracious. Nevertheless there seems to be little analytical output aside some attempt at comparing and contrasting various systems, for example for recording walls (pp. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

New Book Chronicle
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.