Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Wetland Archaeology

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The Oxford Handbook of Wetland Archaeology

Francesco Menotti and Aidan O’Sullivan (eds)
Oxford University Press, £110.00
ISBN 978-0199573493 

Wetland sites are found on every continent except Antarctica, encompassing a huge range of environments. These waterlogged landscapes are ideal for preserving organic materials such as wood and leather, making them a treasure trove for archaeologists.

This new handbook contains 54 concise essays by some of the world’s leading experts in the field, drawing on past and present archaeological research. With an impressively broad chronological and geographical scope, different sections consider themes such as the kinds of archaeological evidence found in these environments, and the particular methodologies suited to investigating and preserving them.

Trackways and water transport, crannogs and waterside settlements, votive offerings and bog bodies all feature, illuminating how human communities have interacted with wetlands through history. Other chapters explore the scientific research that can be undertaken in waterlogged sites, such as sampling ancient DNA, and dating sediment cores (including the groundbreaking new research at Lake Suigetsu in Japan, see CWA 56 for more on this). Packed with detail but clearly and accessibly written, with generous bibliographies, this is an invaluable reference tool and a worthy addition to any bookshelf.

This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 59. Click here to subscribe

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