And now for something completely different… the title might be a bit off-putting but the principal author, Chris Evans, is one of the most original minds in contemporary archaeology and how often does a shaman figure as a serious co-author of an archaeological work ? This book is a summary of almost ten years fieldwork in the Himalyas, involved collaboration between the local community, archaeologists, anthropologists and historians – and the shaman – and covers surveying in an old-fashioned way, excavation, written and oral history.
It might seem surprising but this book ticks so many boxes for archaeological/historical interests – how a human group define and redefine their identities; place-names and their deeper meanings; the relationship between religion, settlement and landscape; real community archaeology, not the pallid politically correct form practiced in the United Kingdom and much more.
So prepare to be stimulated and disturbed! Besides all this worthy stuff, read it because is also a very real adventure story, week long porterages into the mountains to reach the main archaeological site, bad weather, primitive living conditions, complex interactions with the locals (and their gods) and an abrupt closure of the project due to Maoist guerillas. For Christmas a perfect blend of romance with archaeological fact – dream on of faraway lands!
This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 38. Click here to subscribe