Whether it’s Tomb Raider or Roman coins, the conventional view of archaeology as a discipline solely preoccupied with long dead cultures is misleading. In fact, archaeology is better described as a mode of thought – one by which we can better understand our past, present and future. Indeed, by studying artefacts of past human activity, we can even learn to better tackle great contemporary challenges like high population density and climate change.
Spanning the globe and centuries – from Mesolithic burials in Sweden to modern landfill sites in Arizona – Joe Flatman shows how to view the world with an archaeologist’s insight. What does a discarded food packet reveal about contemporary consumption patterns? How can infrared satellite imagery tell archaeologists where to undertake expensive excavation projects? What can archaeology reveal about the beginnings of the human race? Replete with textboxes highlighting key case studies from the history of the subject, and containing invaluable diagrams and photos illustrating the reality of being an archaeologist, this is the essential primer to reading landscapes, objects, and places.
Joe Flatman is the Head of Central Casework and Programmes in the Designation Department of English Heritage (the department responsible for listing historic buildings and scheduling archaeological sites in England); he was previously a senior lecturer in archaeology at University College London and the County Archaeologist of Surrey. His book Becoming an Archaeologist was named Current Archaeology Magazine’s Book of the Year in 2012. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.
Joe is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London; A Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists; and a Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology. He has worked as an archaeologist across Britain, Europe, North Africa and Australia, including teaching at a number of universities as well as working as a freelance heritage consultant.
Joe has a BA in archaeology and history, an MA in maritime archaeology, and a PhD in archaeology, all from the University of Southampton in Britain. He has published widely on a range of heritage subjects, his most recent books including Prehistoric Archaeology of the Continental Shelf: A Global Review (2014); Archaeology in Society: Its Relevance in the Modern World (2012) and Becoming an Archaeologist: A Guide to Professional Pathways (2011). He also regularly reviews heritage-themed books for a variety of other publications.
'Readers with a longer-standing involvement may gain some refreshing perspective from this attempt to present an overview in an age of specialisation'.
– British Archaeology
“[This book] stands apart for the clarity and simplicity of its approach, its focus on archaeological interpretation throughout and for being packed full of rich case studies… an introduction of global reach with a distinctive voice.”
– Howard Williams, Professor of Archaeology, University of Chester
"An exceptionally clear and engaging insight into how archaeologists understand the world."
– Dr Benjamin Roberts, Lecturer in Archaeology, Durham University