The Diversity of Hunter-Gatherer Pasts Bill Finlayson and Graeme Warren (eds) Oxbow Books, £36 ISBN 978-1785705885 Review by: George Nash In the recent past, there has been a tendency to be cautious when applying anthropology to assist in understanding archaeology. While many will agree with this notion per se, anthropology can be a useful tool […]
Built on Bones: 15,000 years of urban life and death Brenna Hassett Bloomsbury, £16.99 ISBN 978-1472922939 Review by: Lucia Marchini More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and the proportion is only set to increase. Cities, though, have long presented a range of hazards, such as infectious diseases and interpersonal violence. […]
After two years of refurbishment, the British Museum has reopened its longest gallery, devoted to China and South Asia. Artefacts are back on display in the listed mahogany cases, offering a chronological journey through the rich collections from Neolithic pottery to Ravi Shankar’s sitar. A vast Ming dynasty mural (c.1424- 1468) from a Buddhist temple […]
What is it? William is the nickname given to this small Egyptian Middle Kingdom statuette of a hippopotamus. The figurine was made in the 12th Dynasty (c.1961-1878 BC) and was placed with another in a tomb. Measuring just 11.2cm in height and 20cm in length, the bright, blue faience hippopotamus has a well-rounded body and […]
How did Romans drive around an ancient city? Was it just a free-for-all? Subtle traces worn into the streets of Pompeii by passing carts suggest not. What do they tell us about the city’s complex traffic systems?
How did Romans drive around their cities? While Classical authors had plenty to say about the coarse manners of the muleteers using the streets, they were less interested in setting down the rules of the road. Was it just a free-for-all? Subtle traces worn into the streets of Pompeii by passing carts suggest otherwise. Our […]
What is it? This exquisitely carved ivory plaque from the ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud, near Mosul in Iraq, is one of several inlays that once adorned the back of a wooden chair or couch. Measuring 26cm × 12cm, the plaque features a woman in a long, Syrian-style dress with loose, beaded sleeves and a […]
Roman Artefacts and Society: design, behaviour, and experience Ellen Swift Oxford University Press, £85 ISBN 978-0198785262 Review: Matthew Fittock Offering a fresh approach to Roman material culture studies, this book shows how design theory can help us understand the interplay between object design, production, and function, and how this reflects changes in social behaviour and […]
The Power of Place: rulers and their palaces, landscapes, cities, and holy places David Rollason Princeton University Press, £41.95 ISBN 978-0691167626 Review by: Stuart Brookes The central theme of this enthralling and beautifully produced book is that rulers designed the worlds around them to send messages of power. In the case of palaces, such a […]
Golden Kingdoms: luxury arts in the ancient Americas Joanne Pillsbury, Timothy Potts, and Kim N Richter (eds) Getty Publications, £50 ISBN 978-1606065488 Reviewed by: Lucia Marchini To this day, gold remains a symbol of luxury and quality. The precious metal was much coveted in early modern Europe too, particularly when Christopher Columbus reached Central America […]
The Dutch East India Company was one of the most powerful companies on the planet. Now the wreck of a fully laden ship bound for the East Indies is providing a glimpse of how this state within a state prospered.
The Etruscans: lost civilizations Lucy Shipley Reaktion Books, £15 ISBN 978-1780238326 Reviewed by: Andrew Selkirk Who were the mysterious Etruscans? Lucy Shipley, who is now one of the whizzkids at Andante Travels, wrote her doctoral thesis on Etruscan pottery, and here, in the latest instalment of Reaktion’s series on ‘Lost Civilizations’, she sets out to […]