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Theories, Methods and Practice

Colin Renfrew, Paul Bahn


The leading educational textbook for archaeology students, explaining what archaeologists do and how they do it

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Since its first edition, Renfrew and Bahn’s Archaeology: Theories, Methods, and Practice has been the leading educational source on what archaeologists do and how they do it. The text is organized around the key questions that archaeologists ask about the past and details the practical and theoretical ways in which answers to those questions are sought. The seventh edition has been thoroughly revised and updated, with 16 additional pages and new material on the latest developments in the subject and coverage of many recent discoveries. The book is newly designed with additional box features and extensive drawings, charts, and photographs, all in full colour.

This is a truly global introduction to archaeology, and includes examples from every part of the world. New boxes include coverage of the discovery of Richard III’s burial; excavations at the Neolithic Ness of Brodgar in the Orkney Islands; snow patch archaeology on mountain tops and in the far north; Roman glassware traded to ancient Japan; the Museum of London’s excavation of a Roman and later medieval site in the heart of the city; fresh analysis of Grauballe Man, a Danish Iron Age bog body; and work on the origins of farming at Jerf el Ahmar, Syria.

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'Very simply, Renfrew & Bahn is the book that we recommend to all our students as the 'if you are going to buy only one book, this is the book you need to buy'. We would expect all of our students to use it, and it is recommended for a range of first and second year modules, both core and optional. Quite simply, it is the best textbook.'
Dr Mark Pearce, University of Nottingham

'It is invaluable in its breadth of coverage of the discipline'
Professor Paul Halstead, University of Sheffield

'With abundant helpful illustrations and suggestions for further reading, this book remains an invaluable introduction to the world of archaeology'
Current Archaeology

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Further Details


Format: Paperback

Edition Type: Seventh edition

Size: 22.9 x 18.7 cm

Extent: 672 pp

Publication date: 18 January 2016

ISBN: 9780500292105

Contents List

Part I - The Framework of Archaeology The Searchers: The History of Archaeology * What is Left? The Variety of the Evidence * Where? Survey and Excavation of Sites and Features * When? Dating Methods and Chronology * Part II - Discovering the Variety of Human Experience How Where Societies Organized? Social Archaeology * What Was the Environment? Environmental Archaeology * What Did They Eat? Subsistence and Diet * How Did They Make and Use Tools? Technology * What Contact Did They Have? Trade and Exchange * What Did They Think? Cognitive Archaeology, Art and Religion * Who Were They? What Were They Like? The Bioarchaeology of People * Why Did Things Change? Explanation in Archaeology Part III - The World of Archaeology Archaeology in action: Five Case Studies * Whose Past? Archaeology and the Public * The Future of the Past; How to Manage the Heritage? * The New Searchers; Building a Career in archaeology * Glossary, Notes and Bibliography, Index

About the Author

Colin Renfrew is Disney Emeritus Professor of Archaeology and former Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge.

Paul Bahn is the author or editor of numerous books, including the standard introduction to cave art, Images of the Ice Age, as well as The First Artists (with Michel Lorblanchet).