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Bigger Than History

Why Archaeology Matters

Brian Fagan, Nadia Durrani


An important new primer on the significance and relevance of archaeology

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Why does archaeology matter? How does studying prehistory help us understand climate change? How can archaeological discoveries challenge contemporary assumptions about gender? How has archaeology been used and misused to support political and nationalist agendas – and how can it help build a more diverse and inclusive picture of our world by examining the people left out of written history?

Brian Fagan and Nadia Durrani address these and other questions, exploring how archaeology's long-term perspective offers unique views into the most challenging issues facing the world today. With examples from around the globe – including a female Viking burial in Sweden, controversies over the discovery of the Kingdom of Mapungubwe in Southern Africa, and newly discovered ancient farming techniques in South America – Bigger Than History explores how the search for the past continues to inform our understanding of the present.

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'This book links the seemingly remote world of archaeology with the present day. Indeed, the stories of entire groups of people omitted from written texts can be told through the evidence beneath our feet. There are challenges, too, and the authors compellingly sketch some of the biggest risks faced by the discipline'
BBC History Magazine

'Offers a window onto this subject for a readership beyond archaeologists that will help to clarify the discipline’s broader relevance. This is surely a book that everyone should read'

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 21.0 x 14.0 cm

Extent: 144 pp

Illustrations: 31

Publication date: 2 July 2020

ISBN: 9780500295083

Contents List

Preface • Acknowledgments • 1. Revealing Deep History • 2. Investigating Climate Change • 3. Revealing Who We Are • 4. Exploring Gender • 5. Archaeology and Nationalism • 6. The Tourist Effect • 7. Protecting the Past • 8. Why Archaeology Matters

About the Author

Brian Fagan is Emeritus Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author or editor of forty-six books, including Ancient North America, Discovery! and The Complete Ice Age, as well as seven widely used undergraduate college texts. He is a contributing editor to American Archaeology and Discover Archaeology magazines, and formerly wrote a regular column for Archaeology magazine.

Nadia Durrani is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and has spent the past two decades writing about world archaeology. She is the co-author of several of Brian Fagan's market-leading undergraduate college textbooks, and is the former editor of the bestselling archaeology magazine Current World Archaeology. She has a PhD in the archaeology of South-West Arabia.

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