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Alluvial Geoarchaeology: Floodplain Archaeology and Environmental Change (Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 21. August 2008

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" excelleny source...A.G. Brown's carefully structured, and well-organized and illustrated volume stands out as one of the most successful of the Cambridge "Manuals in Archaeology" series." Canadian Journal of Archaeology

"The book has a distinctive European flavor, with an underly theme that emphasizes the impact of humans on floodplain history. This book is written for the advanced scholar in that many assumptions about fundamentals of process geomorphology and cultural prehistory are assumed." An International Journal

Über das Produkt

This comprehensive technical manual is designed to give archaeologists the necessary background knowledge in environmental science required to excavate and analyse archaeological sites by rivers and on floodplains. Examples are drawn from Britain, Europe, North America and Australasia. For archaeologists, physical geographers, geologists and environmental scientists.

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Floodplains are one of the most conspicuous and widespread of all the land-forms on the earth. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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Interesting, but a bit disappointing as a text book. 9. September 2006
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This is a difficult one. I did find the book interesting, and I did learn from it. I still gave it a "3," however, because I'm not sure it lives up to the likely expectations of its apparent intended audience.

A. G. Brown's book, Alluvial Geoarchaeology: Floodplain Archaeology and Environmental Change, is certainly an interesting book. I have studied geology, paleontology and zooarchaeology, so the book was a natural for me. Also because it is written by a British author, although there are North American examples of the effects of fluvial processes on landscape and cultural and physical remains, most of them are taken from European sites in the British Isles and Europe. Since, in my experience, so few of these latter occur in US texts, I found them interesting and enlightening.

That said I have to say that Professor Brown does not go into enough detail regarding the sedimentary processes that produce the structural environment that an archaeologist is likely to encounter. In short, he fails to get down to the nitty-gritty of what such an individual is likely to actually see when he looks at sedimentary structures on site. One might legitimately counter, however, that much of this information only comes through a hands-on field experience guided by an experienced sedimentary geologist, but I still think that more might have been done by way of photos.

Unfortunately, many of the photos in the text come across very poorly. Most are in black and white, which is probably the best way for details to be visualized, but the quality of the black and white photography (or of their reproduction) is very grainy which defeats the purpose of black and white photos to begin with. I found this very frustrating in my attempt to see what the author was trying to describe in the body of the text or in the passages accompanying the photos. Furthermore, most of the photos were distance shots that showed almost too much, rather than honing in on specific details like grain size, unconformities, evidence of post depositional rounding, etc. that are the meat of the subject.

If the book is intended as a text for archaeologists, I can't help but feel it fails to provide them with really useful field information beyond that that an archaeological handbook might have offered and perhaps better. Especially recently, most such books place an great emphasis on the taphonomy of bone and cultural material and the pitfalls that interpretation of physical remains can provide if post depositional history is not taken into consideration.

Part of the problem with this book, and probably with the field in general, is that archaeology and geology are still such distinct specialties, that though efforts at consiliance have been made, the two disciplines still have not learned how to talk to one another effectively. Neither addresses the specifics of what the other needs to know to say something coherent about a site and its meaning. This is unfortunate, since archaeology, unless it's done as a surface survey or a ground probing project, is very destructive of sites and data. With limited funds and with many sites requiring interpretation before they are buried beneath yet another housing project, shopping mall or freeway, every scrap of information needs to be collected and correctly interpreted or be lost forever.

Interesting to a casual reader with an interest in sedimentary processes and archeology, but not necessarily useful for training of future or current professionals in the field.
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