Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780199657438

Paul Bahn
136 Pages
116 x 174 mm
Pub date
Aug 2012
Very Short Introductions


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  • Considers the origins and development of the practice of archaeology
  • Explores the methods that archaeologists use to explore the past and consider how people lived
  • Reflects the move from traditional archaeology to science-based archaeology, including how genetics has contributed heavily to modern practice
  • Highlights how archaeologists have a place in some of the most prominent debates of our age, such as the role of climate change, the effects of rises in sea-level, and the possibility of global warming

New to this Edition:

  • Includes updates surrounding new discoveries and interpretations of previous material
  • Shows how technology and science are helping archaeologists, from the use of DNA and the internet to GPS and digital imaging
  • Updated further reading section

This entertaining Very Short Introduction reflects the enduring popularity of archaeology - a subject which appeals as a pastime, career, and academic discipline, encompasses the whole globe, and surveys 2.5 million years. From deserts to jungles, from deep caves to mountain tops, from pebble tools to satellite photographs, from excavation to abstract theory, archaeology interacts with nearly every other discipline in its attempts to reconstruct the past.

In this new edition, Paul Bahn brings the text up to date, including information about new discoveries and interpretations in the field, and highlighting the impact of developments such as the potential use of DNA and stable isotopes in teeth, as well the effect technology and science are having on archaeological exploration. 

Review from previous edition 
Very lively indeed and remarkably perceptive - a quite brilliant and level-headed look at the curious world of archaeology. - Barry Cunliffe, University of Oxford

It is often said that well-written books are rare in archaeology, but this is a model of good writing for a general audience. [The] chapters rattle along, packed with information by never getting bogged down in too much details. The book is full of jokes, but its serious message-that archaeology can be a rich and fascinating subject-it gets across with more panache than any other book I know. - Simon Denison, editor of British Archaeology


1: The Origins and Development of Archaeology
2: Making a Date
3: Technology
4: How Did People Live?
5: How Did People Think?
6: Settlement and Society
7: How and Why Did Things Change?
8: Minorities and Sororities
9: Presenting the Past to the Public
10: The Future of the Past
Further reading

About the author: 

Paul Bahn, Freelance writer, translator, and broadcaster in archaeology
Paul Bahn is a freelance writer, translator, and broadcaster in archaeology. He is a Fellow of the Society of ntiquaries, a corresponding member of the Archaeological Institute of America, a contributing editor of Archaeology magazine (New York), and vice-president (UK) of the Easter Island Foundation. He instigated and led the project which discovered Britain's only known Ice Age cave art in 2003.

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