Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Archaeology. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.

1. The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt (Hist Atlas)

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

From its humble origins as a cluster of rival chiefdoms along the banks of the Nile, ancient Egypt rose to become one of the most advanced civilizations of its time. This atlas traces its turbulent history and remarkable cultural development, from the founding of Memphis around 5000 BC, through the territorial expansion and flourishing trade of the ‘age of empire’, to Greek domination and ultimate collapse. Political rivalries are charted through the successive dynasties, from the strife of the intermediate periods to the golden ages of prosperity and artistic glory under Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. The latest archaeological evidence is used to cast new light on the vast architectural legacy of the world’s first great nation state. The authoritative narrative, illustrated with over sixty full colour maps and over seventy plates, makes this an indispensable handbook for history students and enthusiasts alike.

  • Author: Bill Manley
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Illustrated edition (January 1, 1997)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-0140513318
  • Dimensions: 7.12 x 0.35 x 9.7 inches


2. The Collapse of Complex Societies (New Studies in Archaeology)

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

Political disintegration is a persistent feature of world history. The Collapse of Complex Societies, though written by an archaeologist, will therefore strike a chord throughout the social sciences. Any explanation of societal collapse carries lessons not just for the study of ancient societies, but for the members of all such societies in both the present and future. Dr. Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory that accounts for collapse among diverse kinds of societies, evaluating his model and clarifying the processes of disintegration by detailed studies of the Roman, Mayan and Chacoan collapses.

  • Author: Joseph A. Tainter
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities


3. In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

History is recorded in many ways. According to  author James Deetz, the past can be seen most fully  by studying the small things so often forgotten.  Objects such as doorways, gravestones, musical  instruments, and even shards of pottery fill in the  cracks between large historical events and depict  the intricacies of daily life. In his completely  revised and expanded edition of In Small  Things Forgotten , Deetz has added new  sections that more fully acknowledge the presence  of women and African Americans in Colonial  America. New interpretations of archaeological finds  detail how minorities influenced and were affected  by the development of the Anglo-American tradition  in the years following the settlers' arrival in  Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. Among Deetz's  observations: Subtle changes in building long before the  Revolutionary War hinted at the growing independence  of the American colonies and their desire to be  less like the  British. Records of estate auctions show that many  households in Colonial America contained only one  chair--underscoring the patriarchal nature of the  early American family. All other members of the  household sat on stools or the  floor. The excavation of a tiny community of  freed slaves in Massachusetts reveals evidence of  the transplantation of African culture to North  America. Simultaneously  a study of American life and an explanation of  how American life is studied, In Small  Things Forgotten , through the everyday  details of ordinary living, colorfully depicts a  world hundreds of years in the past.

  • Author: James Deetz
  • Publisher: Anchor; Revised, Expanded, Subsequent edition (August 1, 1996)
  • Genre: History, Americas
  • ISBN: 978-0385483995
  • Dimensions: 5.13 x 0.61 x 7.96 inches


4. Britain Begins

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

The last Ice Age, which came to an end about 12,000 years ago, swept the bands of hunter gatherers from the face of the land that was to become Britain and Ireland, but as the ice sheets retreated and the climate improved so human groups spread slowly northwards, re-colonizing the land that had been laid waste. From that time onwards Britain and Ireland have been continuously inhabited and the resident population has increased from a few hundreds to more than 60 million. Britain Begins is nothing less than the story of the origins of the British and the Irish peoples, from around 10,000BC to the eve of the Norman Conquest. Using the most up to date archaeological evidence together with new work on DNA and other scientific techniques which help us to trace the origins and movements of these early settlers, Barry Cunliffe offers a rich narrative account of the first islanders - who they were, where they came from, and how they interacted one with another. Underlying this narrative throughout is the story of the sea, which allowed the islanders and their continental neighbours to be in constant contact. The story told by the archaeological evidence, in later periods augmented by historical texts, satisfies our need to know who we are and where we come from. But before the development of the discipline of archaeology, people used what scraps there were, gleaned from Biblical and classical texts, to create a largely mythological origin for the British. Britain Begins also explores the development of these early myths, which show our ancestors attempting to understand their origins. And, as Cunliffe shows, today's archaeologists are driven by the same desire to understand the past - the only real difference is that we have vastly more evidence to work with.

  • Author: Barry Cunliffe
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Illustrated edition (January 1, 2014)
  • Genre: Science & Math, Earth Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-0199679454
  • Dimensions: 9.6 x 1.1 x 7.4 inches


5. Ancient Mexico and Central America: Archaeology and Culture History

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

The definitive textbook on the archaeology and history of Mesoamerica This essential textbook brings to life the cultures of Mexico and Central America in the centuries leading up to and including the Spanish conquest. The first edition won the Society for American Archaeology book award in 2005, and it has become a mainstay in courses throughout the United States and Canada. The third edition includes new box features, thoroughly revised references, and an up-to-date account of the rise and heyday of the Aztecs. 489 illustrations, 81 in color

  • Author: Susan Toby Evans
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; Third edition (February 6, 2013)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Social Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-0500290651
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches


6. Archaeology Essentials: Theories, Methods, and Practice

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

Archaeology for today’s student Retaining its hallmark concision and authoritative presentation of the most recent breakthrough discoveries, methods, and interpretations, the Fourth Edition sets a new standard for learning support. To provide even greater student engagement, the book is supported by two new and important resources: an Active Archaeology Notebook with 20 class-tested activities; and InQuizitive for Archaeology―an engaging, adaptive learning tool that strengthens concept mastery and application. 295

  • Author: Colin Renfrew
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; Fourth edition (November 15, 2018)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Social Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-0500841389
  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches


7. How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself, Revised Edition

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

Hieroglyphs are pictures used as signs in writing. When standing before an ancient tablet in a museum or visiting an Egyptian monument, we marvel at this unique writing and puzzle over its meaning. Now, with the help of Egyptologists Mark Collier and Bill Manley, museum-goers, tourists, and armchair travelers alike can gain a basic knowledge of the language and culture of ancient Egypt. Collier and Manley's novel approach is informed by years of experience teaching Egyptian hieroglyphs to non-specialists. Using attractive drawings of actual inscriptions displayed in the British Museum, they concentrate on the kind of hieroglyphs readers might encounter in other collections, especially funerary writings and tomb scenes. Each chapter introduces a new aspect of hieroglyphic script or Middle Egyptian grammar and encourages acquisition of reading skills with practical exercises. The texts offer insights into the daily experiences of their ancient authors and touch on topics ranging from pharaonic administration to family life to the Egyptian way of death. With this book as a guide, one can enjoy a whole new experience in understanding Egyptian art and artifacts around the world.

  • Author: Mark Collier
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, Revised (May 5, 2003)
  • Genre: Literature & Fiction, History & Criticism
  • ISBN: 978-0520239494
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.6 x 9.25 inches


8. On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands before European Contact, Revised and Expanded Edition

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

The Pacific Ocean covers one-third of the earth’s surface and encompasses many thousands of islands that are home to numerous human societies and cultures. Among these indigenous Oceanic cultures are the intrepid Polynesian double-hulled canoe navigators, the atoll dwellers of Micronesia, the statue carvers of remote Easter Island, and the famed traders of Melanesia. Decades of archaeological excavations—combined with allied research in historical linguistics, biological anthropology, and comparative ethnography—have revealed much new information about the long-term history of these societies and cultures.  On the Road of the Winds  synthesizes the grand sweep of human history in the Pacific Islands, beginning with the movement of early people out from Asia more than 40,000 years ago and tracing the development of myriad indigenous cultures up to the time of European contact in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. This updated edition, enhanced with many new illustrations and an extensive bibliography, synthesizes the latest archaeological, linguistic, and biological discoveries that reveal the vastness of ancient history in the Pacific Islands.

  • Author: Patrick Vinton Kirch
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Second Edition, Revised (November 7, 2017)
  • Genre: History, Americas
  • ISBN: 978-0520292819
  • Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches


9. Evolution of a Taboo: Pigs and People in the Ancient Near East

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

Pigs are among the most peculiar animals domesticated in the Ancient Near East. Their story, from domestication to taboo, has fascinated historians, archaeologists, and religious studies scholars for decades. Rejecting simple explanations, this book adopts an evolutionary approach that relies on zooarchaeology and texts to unravel the cultural significance of swine in the Near East from the Paleolithic to the present day. Five major themes are covered: The domestication of the pig from wild boars in the Neolithic period, the unique roles that pigs developed in agricultural economies before and after the development of complex societies, the raising of swine in cities, the shifting ritual roles of pigs, and the formation and development of the pork taboo in Judaism and, later, Islam. The origins and significance of this taboo have inspired much debate. Evolution of a Taboo contends that the well-known taboo described in Leviticus evolved over time, beginning with conflicts between Israelites and Philistines in the early part of the Iron Age, and later was mobilized by Judah's priestly elite in the writing of the Biblical texts. Centuries later, the pig taboo became a point of contention in the ethno-political struggles between Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures in the Levant; later still, between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Through these conflicts, the pig taboo grew in power. As this rich account illustrates, it came to define the relations between pigs and people in the Near East and beyond, up to the present day.

  • Author: Max D. Price
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 7, 2021)
  • Genre: History, Americas
  • ISBN: 978-0197543276
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.3 x 6.5 inches


10. Human Osteology

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Archaeology - August 2021

Book by White, Tim D., Black, Michael T., Folkens, Pieter A.

  • Author: Tim D. White
  • Publisher: Academic Press; 3rd edition (March 16, 2011)
  • Genre: Medical Books, Medicine
  • ISBN: 978-0123741349
  • Dimensions: 8.7 x 1.7 x 11 inches