Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction
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.
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Questions for Thought and Discussion
- Where do you stand on the question of returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece?
- How can rational people tackle the problem of bestselling books such as those by Von Däniken or Hancock, filled with fantasies about extraterrestrials or lost super-civilisations?
- Is it right to disturb the dead -- and should they be put on show?
- Many archaeological sites are receiving too many visitors, who are loving the past to death. How can we strike a balance between the public’s right to see its heritage and the need to conserve sites for future generations?
- Has archaeology been harmed or enhanced by the antics of Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, or “Relic Hunter”?
- In a world of recession and cutbacks, how can a “luxury subject” like archaeology justify its funding?
- What is archaeology? Ã‚Â Where does it start and end?
- Can “amateurs” still make a valuable contribution to archaeology, or should they now leave it to the “professionals”?
- Archaeology is no longer a treasure hunt, so what are archeologists really seeking?
- Recent years have transformed archeaological research by bringing us computers, satellite photos, genetics, and chemical analyses -- what will be the main advances in the future?
- Discuss some practical applications of archaeology to current debates such as climate change, sea-level rises, earthquake activity, deforestation or ancient food production, the history and development of diseases.
- We are finding far too much archaeological material, and cannot store or conserve everything -- what is to be done?
- How can one differentiate a genuine artifact from a natural object?
- How does taphonomy Ã‚Â -- i.e. the fact that some materials survive far better than others -- affect our deductions about the past?
- What is an archaeological site?
- How can museums strike a balance between instructing and entertaining the public?
- What are the good and the bad aspects of archaeology on the Internet?
- Is the antiquties trade the main cause of the looting and destruction of archaeological sites?
- Do you think that TV documentaries, or series like “Time Team”, have improved archaeology’s popularity in the eyes of the public?
Other books by Paul Bahn
- Cave Art: A Guide to the Decorated Ice Age Caves of Europe (Frances Lincoln, 2012)
- Disgraceful Archaeology (The History Press Ltd, 2012)
- M. Crawford, The Roman Republic (Fontana Press 1992)
- H.I. Flower (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic (Cambridge, Cambridge University 2004)
- T. Holland, Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic (Abacus 2004)
- N. Rosenstein and R. Morstein-Marx (eds.), A Companion to the Roman Republic (Oxford 2006)
- D. Shotter, The Fall of the Roman Republic (Routledge 2005)