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CWA 83 – New Book Reviews

Mountains and Lowlands: Ancient Iran and Mesopotamia; Three Stones Make a Wall; Rock Art Studies: News of the World V; The Caribbean before Columbus; Human Mobility and Technological Transfer in the Prehistoric Mediterranean; Life and Death in the Mesolithic of Sweden


Book Review: The Fifth Beginning

Brian Fagan reviews Robert L Kelly’s new book to discover ‘what six million years of human history can tell us about our future’. Robert Kelly is an eminent North American archaeologist and an accomplished author. He modestly calls himself a ‘dirt archaeologist’, but his learning is formidable and his perspective truly global. The Fifth Beginning is […]


New Book Reviews in CWA 82

The Spartan Regime: Its Character, Origins, and Grand Strategy by Paul A Rahe Rahe is a distinguished history professor, and after a lifetime of studies has produced the first of three books to unravel the problems of Sparta. The trouble is, he is no archaeologist, and consequently he is far too kind in his analysis. The […]


New Book Reviews in CWA 81

The Great Paleolithic War by David J Meltzer It all started with a simple, but extremely contentious, question: were humans present in the Americas during the Pleistocene? Before Ice Age people were confirmed in Europe during the 1850s, few scholars ventured such bold proclamations. But, with the location of a few stone tools and skeletal remains, […]

Persepolis Cover

Book Review: Persepolis from Glasgow

  If you aren’t already in the mood for an adventurous roadtrip, one quick flip through this fun and well-curated volume will certainly change that.  Through diary entries, captivating photography, and scraps of travel memorabilia, Orr transports the reader back to 1973, through the fields of central Europe, and into the heart of Persia in a Glasgow school bus. […]


CWA 80 Book Reviews

Nicholas Bartos reviews some of the latest archaeological books. The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan Describing Peter Frankopan’s monumental 656-page work as ‘ambitious’ may be an understatement: he sets out, in no uncertain terms, to fundamentally reorient the axis of world history to the east, right along the crooked spine […]


Book Review – The German Ocean: Medieval Europe around the North Sea

  In the full flush of Brexit, Brian Ayers’ new book makes for compelling reading. Re-reading the results of countless excavations over the past 50 years and their 11th to 16th century meaning, Ayers concludes: ‘It is a maritime region where the seas bind communities together rather than dividing them’, the archaeology thus gives ‘timely […]


By steppe, desert, and ocean

The birth of Eurasia Brian Fagan reviews Barry Cunliffe’s masterful ‘big history’ book that traces the development of Eurasia from the first farmers to the expansion of the Mongols.   Eurasia tends to be a blank on archaeological maps. Enormous distances, harsh climatic conditions, formidable linguistic challenges, and politics had been almost insurmountable obstacles until […]

New light the Byzantine Dark Ages

  Sean Kingsley explores a long-needed audit of the Byzantine world that uses archaeology to ask big questions about the end of antiquity and the rise of the medieval Mediterranean. The Dark Ages conjures up images of an end of days – barbarian hordes ransacking Rome, Vikings storming across the North Sea, and medieval villages spluttering their way through […]

Later Prehistory featured

The Later Prehistory of North-West Europe by Richard Bradley, Colin Haselgrove, Marc Vander Linden, and Leo Webley

This publication reassesses long-established assumptions and narratives within the prehistoric archaeology of north-west Europe. Focusing on elements such as settlement patterning and the enigmatic processes behind the adoption of agricultural subsistence strategies, the authors draw on datasets from the largely untapped resources of commercial sector grey (unpublished or unavailable) literature to construct a more holistic understanding of the period between […]

Sons of the Sun featured

Sons of the Sun: rise and decline of the Fifth Dynasty by Miroslav Verner

This well-researched study explores the complicated history of the royal line of Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty. Using extensive archaeological and textual evidence, as well as current theoretical opinion, Verner examines the political instability at the end of the Fourth Dynasty, the questions surrounding the lineage of the Fifth Dynasty kings, the dynamic changes that occurred throughout the period of the […]

Kings and Conquerors featured

In Search of Kings and Conquerors: Gertrude Bell and the archaeology of the Middle East by Lisa Cooper

Bell’s archaeological career is often overshadowed by tales of her privileged upbringing, unhappy love life, political involvements, and untimely death. The first woman to receive a ‘First’ from Oxford, she proved herself to be an astute and highly accomplished archaeologist, particularly in Anatolia and Mesopotamia (where she discovered the magnificent fortress at Ukhaidir), but rarely received the level of recognition enjoyed […]

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