Books

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Book Review: Tenochtitlan – Capital of the Aztec Empire

Tenochtitlan José Luis de Rojas University Press of Florida ISBN 978-0-8130-4220-6 Besides Ancient Egypt, no civilisation has been examined and scrutinised more than the Aztecs. Human Sacrifice, vicious and bloody wars, magnificent architecture and a spectacular downfall have brought the Aztec empire eternal fame. In this informative and stimulating book, José Luis de Rojas brings […]

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Book Review: Living with Myths

Living with Myths Paul Zanker and Björn C Ewald Oxford University Press, £150.00 ISBN 978-0199228690 Similar mythological motifs were used to decorate both Roman homes and their tombs, but these were more than picturesque ornamentation, revealing their commissioners’ concerns and aspirations This generously illustrated book explores allegorical uses of myths to praise the deceased, as […]

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Book Review: Egypt in England

Egypt in England Chris Elliott English Heritage, £25.00 ISBN 978-1848020887 Although not as widespread as other imported styles such as Gothic and Classical, the art of Ancient Egypt has had a lasting influence on English architecture, often appearing in the most unexpected places – as this beautifully illustrated new book reveals. The first half comprises […]

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Book Review: Earthquake

Earthquake Andrew Robinson Reaktion Books, £14.95 ISBN 978-1780230276 The Indian Ocean earthquake and Boxing Day 2004 tsunami, the 2010 earthquake on Haiti, and Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami are recent reminders of Nature’s destructive force. In this immensely readable book, packed with scientific and literary detail, Andrew Robinson looks at the historical and archaeological records […]

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Book Review: Vessels of Influence

Vessels of Influence: China and the birth of porcelain in Medieval and Early Modern Japan Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere Bristol Classical Press, £12.99 ISBN 978-0715634639 The relationship between China and Japan over the past 1,000 years is a fascinating one. Until about 1600, China was well ahead, and the Japanese admired all things Chinese. Then, with […]

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Book Review: The Idea of Order

The Idea of Order Richard Bradley Oxford University Press, £60.00 ISBN 978-0199608096 Why did circular houses dominate so much of Europe’s prehistoric landscape? And why, once they were eclipsed by the evolution of rectangular domestic buildings, did the circular archetype remain popular for ritual and ceremonial sites? Richard Bradley, Professor of Archaeology at Reading, begins […]

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Book Review: Royal Cities of the Ancient Maya

Michael D Coe Thames and Hudson, £29.95 ISBN 978-0500970409 The 3rd to 13th centuries AD saw a great flourishing of Maya culture, marked by the construction of cities and temples of astonishing complexity and beauty. In this new publication, Michael D Coe, one of the foremost Mesoamericanists and Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, at Yale University, […]

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Book Review: Bronze

Ed. David Ekserdjian Royal Academy of Arts, £27.95 (hardback £40) ISBN 978-1907533297 How do you put together an exhibition that covers all regions of the world and all periods in history? Ask David Ekserdjian, curator of Bronze at the Royal Academy. He wanted to explore the medium of bronze, a metal that has come to epitomise […]

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Book Review: The Fall of the Western Roman Empire: an archaeological and historical perspective

Neil Christie Bloomsbury, £19.99 ISBN 978-0340759660 Accompanied by a helpful series of maps, this overview of the decline of Roman influence in the West is an extremely readable introduction to a complex, much-debated part of history, weaving together the latest archaeological evidence with historical material. Christie’s comments on the great diversity of religious beliefs under the […]

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Book Review: How Ancient Europeans saw the World

Peter S Wells Princeton University Press, £24.95 ISBN 978-0691143385 As a professor of anthropology, Peter Wells’ interest in neuroscience and cognitive psychology brings a lot of interesting ideas to archaeology. Some might disagree with his rejection of the words ‘art’ and ‘artefact’ as too loaded with modern ‘mental baggage’, yet this bold approach is certainly […]

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Book Review: Pharaoh: King of Egypt

Margaret Maitland British Museum Press, £9.99 ISBN 978-0714119984 This small book takes on a huge subject: the role of the pharaoh as head of state, as divine intermediary to the gods, and as military leader. It is a concise, scholarly, yet highly accessible introduction to the subject that aims to ‘look beyond the pharaoh’s dazzling […]

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Book Review: Who was who in Egyptology?

Ed. Morris L Bierbrier Egypt Exploration Society, £35 The Egypt Exploration Society has updated their compendium of Egyptologists after a gap of nearly 20 years. Andrew Robinson puts this long-awaited edition to the test. More so than any other ancient civilisation, that of Egypt has been explored, collected, and studied by an amazing variety of […]

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