Sunday, November 23, 2008

What are the best new books by archaeologists?

I am considering posting blurbs on some of the best new books by archaeologists. When I have time I will write something about this book, and maybe some others too.

Blanton, Richard E. and Lane F. Fargher
2008 Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern States. Springer, New York.

If you have suggestions, please email me with book titles, or, better still, with some purple prose describing a book or two.

Sometimes this blog is like the radio show I hosted in college. You talk into the night, wondering if anyone out there is listening. Maybe no one likes my odd tastes (one of my typical playlists would include Bach, the Grateful Dead, Monty Python, Frank Zappa, and recordings of Arctic wolf calls). Then just when you think it's a waste of time, no one is paying any attention, you get a message out of the blue (a phone call to the old Brandeis University radio station) that somebody out there really likes what you are doing. But in case that brought on warm and fuzzy feelings, there was always the Station Manager who hated what I did and didn't neglect to tell me.

Anyway, pardon the nostalgia. I would really appreciate some brief descriptions of really good recent books. What are the best archaeology books today?


Paul Wren said...

I may never know which new books are the good ones, unless someone tells me. The new Blanton book is $94.89 from Amazon! I'd just go check it out, but it does not yet appear in the online catalog of my local university.

How is it that so many academic books are priced out of the range of limited-budget students? I was relieved that the new book on Aztec City States was so affordable. :-)

I'm looking forward to a more in-depth review of this new Blanton work. Hopefully, it will make its appearance in the library soon.

delvebelow said...

I'm somehwat fond of _The Horse, The Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World_ by David Anthony (2007). Anthony has his own opinions to be sure, but his book does not provide breakthrough theory as much as get the reader up to date on the latest research into Indo-European origins. He puts the likes of Renfrew and Gimbutas into the context of new information, exposing the strengths and weaknesses of past and present heavyweights based on what's known now. Although Anthony is an archaeologist and not a historical linguist, he also does an excellent job explaining the role of linguistics in the search for the IE homeland and demonstrating how linguists compile and utilize their data.

Mick Morrison said...

Love your blog and I know of at least several other colleagues here in Australia who do also. Too many blogs tend to focus on volume of posts, number of hits and adsense revenue rather than their content. I think this is one of the few professional archaeology blogs around, so keep it up!

McScreedle said...

Thanks for all of this information your putting out here. Really interesting stuff.

I just created a web-book on the Maya that is really worth checking out: The Mayan Kingdom. Let me know what you think.

Jamesgillesp said...

Great archaeology blog, I visit sometimes, but this is my first comment!

Keep it up, it's professional and relevant!