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Book Title: Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice|
The author of the book: Colin Renfrew
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Reader ratings: 5.1
Edition: Thames & Hudson
Date of issue: December 1st 2008
ISBN 13: 9780500287194
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 812 KB
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I needed to pull this particular baby out to check something for a report I’m writing/avoiding. It required some seriously pro skills on my part to extract it from my Textbook-Jenga-Tower and, since procrastination is steadily becoming my middle name, I figured I’d write a quick review before risking my neck to return it back to its designated slot. (Wish me luck!)
I’ve had my copy for five years now; it’s horrifically tatty from use and is indispensable as a first port of call when I need something more in-depth than what is offered by The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology. For me this started out life as being some prep for an Archaeology A-Level, turned out to be the set text for A2 and then went on to prove itself worth its weight in gold during the first year of undergrad studies. This said, it is not one of those dry throat-ramming texts, and amateur enthusiasts or writers-on-a-quest-of-passing-research shall find a lot to love here too.
This covers all the basics: practical skills; history of the discipline; various case studies; archaeological theory (the BANE of every arch student’s degree), etc. etc. It’s yet to let me down. It also, unlike a lot of supposed ‘introductory references’, is actually readable to the normal lowly mortal; there’s a reason this is recommended by just about every archaeology undergraduate course going. It’s nicely formatted and keeps everything fairly simple, so even the most sleep-deprived/comatose student can make heads or tails out of its explanations. As a pre-exam refresher, especially when nerves fool you into believing you know nothing the night before said exam, it’s fantastic.
However, covering such a broad scope, this really is only brief and general reference material. The serious disciple of archaeology -even in the first year of U - should be looking further afield. This is particularly the case when it comes to the science, as this area is ever-evolving, and new information takes a while to filter down into the textbooks/updated editions. Personally, I have a pencil, and correct when applicable. The margins in this are a good size too, meaning this tome can turn into a nice reference notebook to be added to over the years (providing you aren’t planning to sell it on after realising there are no ‘real’ jobs at the end of an archaeology degree… Oops. Did I let that cat out of the bag?).
All in, I like to think of this Renfrew and Bahn as a helping hand or guide rope. It lets you get your foot into the first hold of whatever area you need to tackle, gives you the breathing space of a quick glance into the horror you’re about to leap head-first into, and then promises to hold your hand later on when things get proper scary. As such, this title should have pride of place in the bookcase (or Jenga Tower) of any self-respecting student; it’s a Virgil of an archaeological textbook and it will ease you through the various levels of ominous deadline hell… Mostly unscathed.
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