ossamenta: (Book store = shiny!)
[personal profile] ossamenta
First, thanks for the well-wishes. The interview seemed to go well: some things that they liked about me, and some things I could improve on. We'll see what happens.

The new Oxbow summer catalogue is out and I thought I'd give a shout-out to some that seemed interesting. A lot of the catalogue is on Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, which I'm not enough familiar with to tell which books are of general relevance and which are only for the artefact/regional specialists. If you are interested in those periods I recommend you check out their website. An exception was made for books of interest to re-enactors and people interested in making replicas of historical finds, as there were a few of those in the Roman section.

- The Ritual Killing and Burial of Animals: European Perspectives (hardback, not yet published. Pre-publication price £39). This volume presents the state of research across Europe to illustrate how comparable interpretative frameworks are used by archaeologists working with both prehistoric and historical societies. Key questions include: How easy is it to identify ritually killed animals in the archaeological record? Can we tell if an animal has been killed specifically for such a purpose? Is it possible to reconstruct the rites associated with their deposition? What insights can be gained about the religious paradigms and ritual systems of the societies engaged in animal sacrifice? Table of contents on the webpage.
I'm so getting this one myself!

- Pompeii's Living Statues: Ancient Roman Lives Stolen From Death (hardback, £41). This intriguing account tells the story of the famous casts, first made in the 1860s of the victims of Pompeii's eruption which have fascinated the public ever since. Dwyer describes Fiorellis excavations which led to the initial casts being made, as well as their substituion with a second wave of more advanced casts. He looks at the role of photography in popularising the discoveries, and at early reactions to them, situating the archaeology in the political context of the re-unification of Italy.

- Resurrecting Pompeii (paperback, £25, hardback, £65). The human remains at Pompeii have long held a rather ghoulish fascination for visitors, used to create an imaginative human element to the tragedy, almost a diorama in fact, by generations, best exemplified by Bulwer-Lytton's Last Days of Pompeii. This book explores both this popular enthusiasm, and the fact that it appears to have hindered rather than encouraged scientific study of the skeletal remains, and by arranging the skeletal remains in vignettes and so on, done considerable damage to their usefulness as archaeology. The older popular and pseudo-anthropological approaches are thus contrasted with the scientific analysis which is now being done, and the conclusions drawn from each of these processes described and assessed.

General archaeology
- Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology (hardback, £95). This massive and hugely impressive volume brings together 52 of the biggest names in Anglo-Saxon archaeology to provide a thorough overview of the field, and the theoretical approaches which characterise current research. Essays are grouped in ten sections each introduced by a general overview: Anglo-Saxon identity: ethnicity, culture and genes; Rural settlement; Mortuary ritual; Food production; Craft production and technology; Trade, exchange and urbanization; The body and life course; The archaeology of religion; Signals of power; The place of archaeology in Anglo-Saxon studies.

- Winchester, a City in the Making: Archaeological Excavations between 2002 - 2007 on the sites of Northgate House, Staple Gardens and the former Winchester Library, Jewry St (paperback, £25). The last 60 years have seen extensive research into the past of Winchester and its environs through its exceptional surviving documentary records, its standing historic buildings and its rich archaeological remains. This volume presents the results of two of the largest archaeological excavations to have been conducted in the city. The report presents evidence from all the major phases of change that the area has seen over the last 2,600 years. It is hoped that this work will make a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge for the city and for urban studies generally.
Being one of the contributors, I have a personal copy, and a book review post is coming up. There was some interesting osteology going on!

- The Archaeology of Medieval Novgorod in Context: Studies in Centre/Periphery Relations (hardback, not yet published. Pre-publication price £45). The book includes papers on aspects of the environmental and technological context of the relationship between urban centre and rural hinterland. It begins by examining the environmental context for the settlement pattern that developed from the 9th to 15th centuries and examining the role that various natural resources had in contributing to that pattern. After a general paper on the natural environment based on a recent palynological study, it presents data from three study areas (the first in the Byeloozero area to the northeast of Novgorod; the second in the immediate hinterland of Novgorod and the third within Novgorod itself). It considers what, where and how certain natural resources were exploited during the medieval period in these areas. Where possible, it also attempts to explain the processes by which these resources were produced as commodities (via craft production, centralised workshops, household production, specialised settlements, etc.) and place the evidence from the three other volumes on ceramics, wood use and zooarchaeology into a wider context, concentrating on the exploitation, manufacture and consumption of these and other materials. Whilst not definitive, the collection aims to be a starting point for attempting to put Novgorod into a wider context of the medieval world. Table of contents on the website.

- Brooches in Late Iron Age and Roman Britain (hardback, 2 volumes, £70). The result of forty years of study, this book offers an overview of the most common find, after coins, on sites in Roman Britain, the brooch. Based on the study of some 15,000 specimens, the second volume illustrates some 2,000, all drawn by the author. The first chapter is a discussion of manufacturing techniques, methods of study and the concept of dating. The bulk of the book consists of nine chapters examining in detail the myriad style of brooches from the second century B.C., when the habit of wearing brooches really took off, to the early fifth century A.D. when newcomers brought their own types of brooch and imposed them on the rest of what was to become England. The final chapter is a synthesis of various strands mentioned in the body of the book and the social implications of the great change in brooch wearing which occurred in the third century.

- Golden Moments: Artefacts of Precious Metals (paperback, £100). A study of the consumption of gold and silver artefacts in Finland during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It presents the corpus of surviving artefacts and discusses their techniques of production, appearance and survival. Above all, the study approaches gold and silver artefacts as a window on the consumption of luxuries, and places the objects in the contexts of use, discard and cultural significance.

- Everyday Objects: Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture and its Meanings (hardback, £60). Everyday Objects presents new research by specialists from a range of disciplines to assess what the study of material culture can contribute to our understanding of medieval and early modern societies. Extending and developing key debates in the study of the everyday, the chapters provide analysis of such things as ceramics, illustrated manuscripts, pins, handbells, carved chimneypieces, clothing, drinking vessels, bagpipes, paintings, shoes, religious icons and the built fabric of domestic houses and guild halls. These things are examined in relation to central themes of pre-modern history; for instance gender, identity, space, morality, skill, value, ritual, use, belief, public and private behaviour, continental influence, materiality, emotion, technical innovation, status, competition and social mobility.

- Weapons of Warre: The Ordnance of the Mary Rose (hardback, 2 volumes, £50). This volume is devoted to consideration of the ordnance, munitions and equipment for war - the raison d'être for the building of the Mary Rose. It begins with a full description of the guns, followed by discussion of the many objects that relate to their use: the shot, the gunpowder and the items needed for loading and firing, as well the experiments that have been carried out in the manufacture and use of specific gun types, carriages and other items. This is followed by chapters dealing with other ordnance: incendiaries, hand guns, staff weapons and archery equipment. The volume concludes with a drawing together of all the evidence to present a detailed consideration of the ship as a fighting unit and an indication of some of the major topics that still require research. Over 700 b/w illustrations and 16 pages of colour plates. Some of the colour plates can be seen on the webpage.

- Roman body armour (in their catalogue, but not on their website... Hardback, £25). The book assesses current views of the history of the Roman army, relative to the development of its equipment, and melds these with the archeological evidence available. It differs from preceding literature in that it has drawn together the streams of published information of sculptural imagery and archeological 'hard' evidence, while also looking at the component parts and how they are physically put together. Reconstructions of armor were subjected to low-level, simulated wear, over several years, to view how the component parts inter-reacted, which parts were more susceptible to wear damage through regular attrition, and to see what features may be anticipated archeologically on artifacts as evidence of wear damage and field repairs. The armor was also subjected to simulated combat testing using a range of weaponry, including archery equipment. Discrepancies were noted between current reconstructions of Roman military equipment and the reality of the actual artefacts, particularly in the case of the segmented plate armour (lorica segmentata) which may cause us to re-think not only the appearance but also the function/fighting methods of the Roman soldier.
Review. Armour is not my thing, but I really hope the library buys this book. Testing replicas and comparing them with the actual artefacts is a great method, and their results sounds absolutely fascinating.

- Roman Pottery in the Archaeological Record (in their catalogue, but not on their website... Paperback, £22, hardback, £66). This book examines how Romans used their pottery and the implications of these practices on the archaeological record. It is organized around a flow model for the life cycle of Roman pottery that includes a set of eight distinct practices: manufacture, distribution, prime use, reuse, maintenance, recycling, discard, reclamation. J. Theodore Peña evaluates how these practices operated, how they have shaped the archaeological record, and the implications of these processes on archaeological research through the examination of a wide array of archaeological, textual, representational and comparative ethnographic evidence. The result is a rich portrayal of the dynamic that shaped the archaeological record of the ancient Romans that will be of interest to archaeologists, ceramicists, and students of material culture.

Textiles and clothing
- Bronze Age Textiles: Men, Women and Wealth (paperback, £13). Among its most prized objects, the Danish National Museum holds completely preserved woollen dresses, both female and male, from oak coffin graves of the early second millennium BC. These garments are matched in old age and superb preservation only by finds from Ancient Egypt. In this study, Klavs Randsborg re-examines these and other Bronze Age textiles, along with related artefacts such as images and figurines, in the context of archaeological, ethnographical and historical information from Europe and beyond, to build up a picture of culture and society, work and wealth in the northern Bronze Age.

- Wearing the Cloak: Dressing the Soldier in Roman Times (hardback, not yet published. Pre-publication price £19). The book contains nine chapters on Roman military textiles and equipment that take textile research to a new level. Hear the sounds of the Roman soldiers' clacking belts and get a view on their purchase orders with Egyptian weavers. Could armour be built of linen? Who had access to what kinds of prestigious equipment? And what garments and weapons were deposited in bogs at the edge of the Roman Empire? The authors draw upon multiple sources such as original textual and scriptural evidence, ancient works of art and iconography and archaeological records and finds. The chapters cover - as did the Roman army - a large geographical span: Egypt, the Levant, the Etruscan heartland and Northern Europe. Status, prestige and access are viewed in the light of financial and social capacities and help shed new light on the material realities of a soldier's life in the Roman world.
Table of contents on the webpage.

- Textiles & Textile Production in Europe: From Prehistory to AD 400 (hardback, not yet published. Pre-publication price £39). Twenty-three chapters collect and systematise essential information on textiles and textile production from sixteen European countries, resulting in an up-to-date and detailed sourcebook and an easily accessible overview of the development of European textile technology and economy from prehistory to AD 400. All chapters have an introduction, give the chronological and cultural background and an overview of the material in question organised chronologically and thematically. The sources of information used by the authors are primarily textiles and textile tools recovered from archaeological contexts. In addition, other evidence for the study of ancient textile production, ranging from iconography to written sources to palaeobotanical and archaeozoological remains are included. The introduction gives a summary on textile preservation, analytical techniques and production sequence that provides a background for the terminology and issues discussed in the various chapters. Extensively illustrated, with over 200 colour illustrations, maps, chronologies and index, this will be an essential sourcebook not just for textile researchers but also the wider archaeological community.
Table of contents on the webpage.

- War and Worship: Textiles from 3rd to 4th-Century AD Weapon Deposits in Denmark and Northern Germany (hardback, not yet published. Pre-publication price £23). War and Worship concerns textile deposits from the bog sites of Thorsberg in Germany and Nydam, Vimose and Illerup Ådal in Denmark. All four sites are well-known for containing a substantial amount of archaeological materials, particularly weapons, but they also contain, as integral parts of the weapon deposits, a smaller number of preserved textiles, which nevertheless constitute outstanding assemblages. With the exception of Thorsberg, publications dealing particularly with textiles from weapon deposits are almost non-existent. The textiles from each site are analysed, then compared to one another and described as a unit characterising the particular site. Comparisons are then made between the four sites, with emphasis on the overall context. A final chapter by Lise Ræder Knudsen analyses tablet-woven textiles in the deposits, a textile technique used to make bands, edges and borders. Although the state of preservation of the textiles at the different locations varies hugely, the research has extracted a large amount of information allowing conclusions on status, origin, function and role in the deposits to be drawn. The fabrics presented here were, unquestionably, consecrated textiles. They had been worn by the defeated foreign warriors during the battle and were considered worthy as sacrificial offerings to the gods. Some individual high-status textiles were perceived to have a value comparable to certain metal items. Others - probably the majority - were used for covering and wrapping other offerings for the subsequent sacrifice. All were committed to the lakes in a sacred act of remembrance to celebrate victorious battles. Table of contents on the webpage.

- The Bayeux Tapestry: New Approaches (hardback, £45). This volume publishes 19 of 26 papers delivered at a conference at the British Museum in July 2008. The physical nature of the tapestry is examined, including an outline of the artefact's current display and the latest conservation and research work done on it, as well as a review of the many repairs and alterations that have been made to the tapestry over its long history. Also examined is the social history of the tapestry and details of the tapestry, such as artefacts and differences in the feast scenes. Table of contents on the webpage.

- The Troyes Memoire: The Making of a Medieval Tapestry (hardback, £50). The "Troyes Mémoire", a late fifteenth-century manuscript preserved in the archives of the town of Troyes, France, is the sole surviving example of the written instructions used in designing tapestries during the Middle Ages. It is unique in its presentation of detailed information on how patrons and church officials communicated complex iconographic material to the medieval artists commissioned to paint cartoons for tapestries. It is here translated into English for the first time, with full introduction and extensive notes. The volume also includes a translation of another richly informative document from medieval Troyes: the Account Books of the Church of Sainte-Madeleine, which introduces us to the actual people who worked together, between 1416 and 1430, to produce a set of tapestries for the town's oldest church.
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