Field practice in archaeology varies greatly throughout the world, mainly because archaeological sites survive in very different ways in different counties. Many manuals see this as a problem - to be defeated by the imposition of standardised procedures. In this book we relish the variety of field practice, seeing it rather as the way the best archaeologists have responded creatively to the challenges of terrain, research objectives and the communities within which they work. While insisting on the highest levels of investigation, we celebrate the different designs, concepts, scientific detection methods and recording systems applied - so embracing standards, but not standardisation. The book is organised in four parts: Part 1 offers a summary of field procedures. Part 2 reviews the principal methods applied, above and below ground, and how the results are analysed. Part 3 illustrates the huge variety confronted by field workers with a series of exemplary commercial and academic projects enacted in downland, jungle, desert, permafrost, road schemes and towns. Approaches also differ according to the traditional methodologies that have evolved in particular countries. In Part 4 we give examples of some the strongest and oldest of those practised on four continents.
In studying the past, archaeologists have focused on the material remains of our ancestors. Prehistorians generally have only artifacts to study and rely on the diverse material record for their understanding of past societies and their behavior. Those involved in studying historically documented cultures not only have extensive material remains but also contemporary texts, images, and a range of investigative technologies to enable them to build a broader and more reflexive picture of how past societies, communities, and individuals operated and behaved. Increasingly, historical archaeology refers not to a particular period, place, or a method, but rather an approach that interrogates the tensions between artifacts and texts irrespective of context. In short, historical archaeology provides direct evidence for how humans have shaped the world we live in today. Historical archaeology is a branch of global archaeology that has grown in the last 40 years from its North American base into an increasingly global community of archaeologists each studying their area of the world in a historical context. Where historical archaeology started as part of the study of the post-Columbian societies of the United States and Canada, it has now expanded to interface with the post-medieval archaeologies of Europe and the diverse post-imperial experiences of Africa, Latin America, and Australasia. The 36 essays in the International Handbook of Historical Archaeology have been specially commissioned from the leading researchers in their fields, creating a wide-ranging digest of the increasingly global field of historical archaeology. The volume is divided into two sections, the first reviewing the key themes, issues, and approaches of historical archaeology today, and the second containing a series of case studies charting the development and current state of historical archaeological practice around the world. This key reference work captures the energy and diversity of this global discipline today.
by Alexander Gramsch, Arkadiusz Marciniak, Peter F. Biehl
Scandinavia, a land mass comprising the modern countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, was the last part of Europe to be inhabited by humans. Not until the end of the last Ice Age when the melting of huge ice sheets left behind a fresh, barren land surface, about 13,000 BC, did the first humans arrive and settle in the region. The archaeological record of these prehistoric cultures, much of it remarkably preserved in Scandinavia's bogs, lakes, and fjords, has given us a detailed portrait of the evolution of human society at the edge of the inhabitable world. In this book, distinguished archaeologist T. Douglas Price provides a history of Scandinavia from the arrival of the first humans to the end of the Viking period, ca. AD 1050. The first book of its kind in English in many years, Ancient Scandinavia features overviews of each prehistoric epoch followed by illustrative examples from the region's rich archaeology. An engrossing and comprehensive picture of change across the millennia emerges, showing how human society evolved from small bands of hunter-gatherers to large farming communities to the complex warrior cultures of the Bronze and Iron Ages, cultures which culminated in the spectacular rise of the Vikings at the end of the prehistoric period. The material evidence of these past societies--arrowheads from reindeer hunts, megalithic tombs, rock art, beautifully wrought weaponry, Viking warships--give vivid testimony to the ancient peoples of Scandinavia and to their extensive contacts with the remote cultures of the Arctic Circle, Western Europe, and the Mediterranean