New Book Chronicle

Article excerpt

This issue features the last of Dr Nicholas James's book chronicle, known to readers of Antiquity as 'Among the New Books'. The review section, produced since March 1999 under his erudite and elegant editorship, will now come from York and take on the challenge of channelling the tide of new publications. No dramatic changes, but a few innovations, are proposed. 'Among the New Books', now re-named 'New Book Chronicle' will continue to chronicle all the publications received by Antiquity that are not the subject of a review or review article, but commentary will concentrate on a few themes each issue. All the other books will be listed under topical or geographical headings, as before. Space being at a premium, the review section has, after two years' experimentation with a larger font, reverted to a smaller print size. It is very much hoped that these small losses will result in a more streamlined look and more space for reviews. Finally, as there is an inevitable time lag between the publication of a new book and its review in these pages, we propose to alert readers to the arrival of new books as soon as they land on Antiquity's doormat, by listing new publications on Antiquity's website. The listing of a book in 'Books Received'--continuing Crawford and Daniel's policy--will not preclude its subsequent review. Antiquity, as always, would welcome comments and suggestions on the new look review section.

Madeleine Hummler

Princes and housewives--what need we know about cities?

Why are archaeologists interested in cities? Those with geographical interests may need evidence for early towns; others may be concerned with urban functions or with specific features or institutions; but not all research on social complexity requires an urban focus. Different again is the matter of what lies beneath places that happen to be urban today.

CHRISTOPHER A. POOL (ed.). Settlement archaeology and political economy at Tres Zapotes, Veracruz, Mexico (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Monograph 50). vi+106 pages, 46 figures, 21 tables. 2003. Los Angeles (CA): University of California; 1-931745-07-2 paperback.

SIGVALD LINNE. Archaeological researches at Teotihuacan, Mexico. xi+236 pages, 339 illustrations. 2003. Tuscaloosa (AL): University of Alabama Press; 0-8173-5005-5 paperback.

MONICA L. SMITH (ed.). The social construction of ancient cities, xv+320 pages, 32 figures, 9 tables. 2003. Washington (DC): Smithsonian Books; 1-58834-098-8 hardback 34.50 [pounds sterling].

ELIZABETH WINCOTT HECKETT. Viking Age head-coverings from Dublin (National Museum of Ireland Medieval Dublin Excavations Ser. B Vol. 6). xvi+152 pages, 95 figures, 16 colour photographs, 14 tables. 2003. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy; 0-9543855-5-1 hardback 30 [euro].

ROBERT LEIGHTON. Tarquinia: an Etruscan city. xii+218 pages, 96 figures. 2004. London: Duckworth; 0-7156-3162-4 paperback 16.99 [pounds sterling].

NANCY L. BENCO (ed.). Anatomy of a Medieval Islamic town: Al-Basra, Morocco (BAR international Ser. 1234). viii+106 pages, 53 figures, 24 tables. 2004. Oxford: Archaeopress; 1-84171-593-X paperback 27 [pounds sterling].

NEIL FINN. The origins of a Leicester suburb: Roman, Anglo-Saxon, medieval and post-medieval occupation on Bonners Lane (BAR British Set. 372). vi+175 pages, 74 figures, 39 tables. 2004. Oxford: Archaeopress; 1-84171-614-6 paperback 30 [pounds sterling].

MICHAEL HODDER. Birmingham: the hidden history. 192 pages, 100 figures. 2004. Stroud: Tempus; 0-7524-3135-8 paperback 17.99 [pounds sterling].

Tres Zapotes has long been recognised as a major Olmec site. Surveys by POOL & colleagues now provide more systematic context. His argument for nucleation without centralisation chimes with various other Mesoamerican sites and urban traditions--but not all other Olmec 'centres'; and it would be worth considering further afield too. LINNE's report, first published in 1934, 'is of exceptional and lasting importance', avers G. …