Archaeology: A Beginner's Guide

Archaeology: A Beginner's Guide 2015, reviewed by Pastor LaMont Bonath.

"This book is more about how to think like an archaeologist than it is about how to be an archaeologist. It uses examples — of places, landscapes, object and peoples — from the past and the present to demonstrate how archaeologist approach the world. It explains how archaeologist weigh up the pros and cons of different types of evidence, how they formulate and test hypotheses and how they come to the conclusions about life in the past....Put simply, archaeology is the study of past societies through the analysis of surviving physical remains"

I read this book to get an overall view about archaeology as it relates to the research done about the Bible. A large part of the Bible is about ethics and morality in relation to others and to God. On page five the author discusses the ethics of archaeology. The focus on ethics was specific, concrete and to the point. "Archaeologists' ethical codes focus on the responsible collection of evidence in a manner that respects the views and beliefs of ancient and modern communities."

The table of contents was logically structured:

  1. What is (and isn't) archaeology?
  2. Tools and techniques
  3. The archaeology of objects
  4. The archaeology places
  5. The archaeology of landscapes
  6. The archaeology of travelling
  7. The future of archaeology

I enjoyed chapters five and six, landscapes and travelling. In the chapter on landscapes, I had not considered how satellites and planes made the relationship between communities easier to understand. "Dealing with archaeology at this scale means grappling with the issues confronted at the small scale but also coming to terms with some distinctive new issues associated with how humans have interacted with, and transformed, landscapes over the millennia." In the chapter on travelling, it was interesting to note archaeological sites relating to travel and transport are of the most important to survive. "They include shipwrecks, ports and harbours, roads and other transport infrastructure...." Nor had I thought about the Neanderthal people travelling in the Aegean.

The websites listed in the further reading section may help define possible detailed interests of the reader in archaeology. I would recommend the book.