Archaeology: An Introduction

Archaeology: An Introduction

Archaeology: An Introduction

Archaeology: An Introduction


This fourth edition constitutes the most extensive reshaping of the text to date. In a lucid and accessible style Kevin Greene explains the discovery and excavation of sites, outlines major dating methods, gives clear explanations of scientific techniques, and examines current theories and controversies.New features include:*A completely new user-friendly text design with initial chapter overviews and final conclusions, key references for each chapter section, an annotated guide to further reading, a glossary, refreshed illustrations, case studies and examples, bibliography and full index*A new companion website built for this edition providing hyperlinks from contents list to individual chapter summaries which in turn link to key websites and other material*An important new chapter on current theory emphasizing the richness of sources of analogy or interpretation available today.


This is not a formal textbook aimed at particular kinds of students on specific types of courses, full of clearly defined aims, objectives and learning outcomes. I have tried to provide an informative book for just about any interested reader from mid-teens upwards whose interest has been stimulated by visiting archaeological sites, or watching television programmes (such as Time Team or Meet the Ancestors) that show archaeological methods as well as results. It is meant to be readable rather than comprehensive, and makes the most of my main areas of expertise in the archaeology of Britain and Europe in the First Millennium AD. Since most other introductions to archaeology have been written by prehistorians, readers of this book may notice a larger number of examples drawn from historical periods.

I have always been just as interested in how archaeology works as in its outcome. My knowledge and experience of archaeology began in Devon, and developed in Cardiff through study for a degree and then a PhD in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was extended by teaching Adult Education students when I first began a career in higher education in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1973. The book grew out of an introductory course I have been teaching since 1977 aimed not just at students specialising in archaeology but at many others who include some archaeology in a broader degree. It provides a wider context for information imparted in lectures, and suggests directions for independent reading and study (see note on use of references).


Archaeology has undergone many changes since this book first appeared in 1983. In 1990 it was possible to update it by adding new further-reading sections, but the 1995 edition was in effect a new book. The 2002 edition includes substantial changes to the emphasis and organisation of chapters 2 to 5, while chapters 1 and 6 (historical background and theoretical archaeology) have been rewritten to place archaeology into a wider intellectual context. My 1995 preface observed that entire books were now devoted to topics and techniques that had only appeared in specialist journals in 1983. This trend has continued, but it remains true that the proliferation of monographs on individual archaeological techniques or scientific methods has not been matched by new general books. However, this situation appears to have been changing in the 1990s and early 2000s; works such as Martin Aitken’s Science-based dating in archaeology 1990 have been joined by others such as Dina Dincauze’s Environmental archaeology 2000. Julian Henderson’s The science and archaeology of materials 2001 or Steve Roskams’ Excavation 2001. Guidance about further reading remains an important component of this book, and will be found at the end of each chapter. I have added a new feature: key references are now indicated beneath all headings and subheadings.

A remarkable development during the late 1990s was the expansion of resources available through the Internet. I responded to this trend in 1997 by creating an ‘electronic companion’ to the

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