Archaeology : An Introduction book cover
5th Edition

An Introduction

ISBN 9780415496391
Published July 8, 2010 by Routledge
416 Pages 39 Color & 91 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Archaeology: An Introduction looks behind the popular aspects of archaeology such as the discovery and excavation of sites, the study of human remains and animal bones, radiocarbon dating, museums and 'heritage' displays, and reveals the methods used by archaeologists. It also explains how the subject emerged from an amateur pursuit in the eighteenth century into a serious discipline, and explores changing fashions in interpretation in recent decades.

This fifth edition has been updated by a new co-author, Tom Moore, and continues to include key references and guidance to help new readers find their way through the ever expanding range of archaeological publications. It conveys the excitement of new archaeological discoveries that appear on television or in newspapers while helping readers to evaluate them by explaining the methods and theories that lie behind them. Above all, while serving as a lucid textbook, it remains a very accessible account that will interest a wide readership. In addition to drawing upon examples and case studies from many regions of the world and periods of the past, it incorporates the authors' own fieldwork, research and teaching and features a new four-colour text design and colour illustrations plus an additional 50 topic boxes.

The comprehensive glossary and bibliography are complemented by a support website hosted by Routledge to assist further study and wider learning. It includes chapter overviews, a testbank of questions, powerpoint discussion questions, web-links to support material for every chapter plus an online glossary and image bank. 

 New to the fifth edition:

  • inclusion of the latest survey techniques
  • updated material on the development in dating, DNA analysis, isotopes and population movement
  • coverage of new themes such as identity and personhood
  • how different societies are defined from an anthropological point of view and the implications of this for archaeological interpretation
  • the impact of climate change and sustainability on heritage management
  • more on the history of archaeology

Visit the companion website at for additional resources, including:

  • chapter overviews
  • a testbank of questions
  • PowerPoint discussion questions
  • links to support material for every chapter
  • an online glossary and image bank

Table of Contents

List of illustrations. Preface. Acknowledgements. Part 1: The Idea of the Past 1. The intellectual history of archaeology 2. The emergence of archaeological methods 3. The recognition and study of artefacts 4. Human origins 5. From hunting to farming 6. The discovery of civilizations 7. Achievements of early archaeology 8. Guide to further reading  Part 2: Discovery and Investigation  1. Sites or landscapes? 2. Field archaeology 3. Remote sensing 4. Geographical information systems (GIS) 5. Landscape archaeology 6. Conclusions 7. Guide to further reading Part 3: Excavation 1. The development of excavation techniques 2. The interpretation of stratification 3. Planning an excavation 4. Excavation strategy 5. Records, archives and publication 6. Guide to further reading  Part 4: Dating the Past 1. Background 2. Typology and cross-dating 3. Historical dating 4. Scientific dating techniques 5. Absolute techniques 6. Derivative techniques 7. The authenticity of artefacts 8. Conclusions 9. Guide to further reading Part 5: Archaeological Science 1. The nature of science 2. The environment 3. Climate 4. The geosphere 5. The biosphere 6. Humans 7. Artefacts and raw materials 8. Conservation 9. Statistics 10. Experimental archaeology 11. Conclusions 12. Guide to further reading  Part 6: Making Sense of the Past 1. Where is archaeology at the beginning of the twenty-first century? 2. Archaeological theory 3. Towards processual archaeology 4. Towards postprocessual archaeology 5. Interpretive archaeology 6. Archaeology and the public 7. Conclusion 8. Guide to further reading Glossary Bibliography Index 50 new topic boxes integrated into chapters.



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Kevin Greene is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Newcastle. He has extensive teaching experience at undergraduate and continuing education levels. He has also published many books and articles on his research into Roman ceramics, economics and technology.

Tom Moore is Lecturer in Archaeology at Durham University. He has been a key member of a variety of field projects in Britain and Europe and worked for two years in contract archaeology for Cotsworld Archaeology.



'It remains one of the benchmark introductions to archaeology. The structure is well thought out, logical and easy to follow. The style is accessible but not patronising, and it manages to make difficult concepts and techniques understandable through clear language and excellent use of examples.'  - Bob Johnston, University of Sheffield 

‘This is an excellent volume, strengthened in its revision and undoubtedly made more attractive by the text boxes and illustrations. In parts the authors achieve heroic levels of comprehensiveness and are to be commended on the enormous number of publications they cite as further reading on the issues raised.’ – Muiris O’Sullivan, University College Dublin.

'This remains the best overview of current archaeological practice and its prose is accessible; the online resources should appeal to the professional archaeologist who can now download a wealth of advice whilst in the field.' – British Archaeology

'Greene's book is exceptional in its clarity and breadth, and does justice to all aspects of the field of archaeology. It's particular strengths are in its global coverage of archaeological methods and theories and its concern with ethics, field methodology and current innovations...A great volume for any introductory archaeology course for majors or non-majors alike.' - Neil O'Donnell, Canisius, College, Buffalo, New York

'I am convinced more than ever that this is the best book going. It really is the only one that tries to teach the best methodology for excavation; and it covers almost any possible analysis and available technology alternative. It is ideal for our undergraduate method and theory because it really is strong in both and in the best balance. It does a better job of teaching the methodology than any of the other standard texts.' - Glenn Storey, University of Iowa

‘The best standard introduction to archaeology.’

 – Gonzalo Ruiz Zapatero, University of Madrid

What readers said about the previous edition:

'Thoroughly recommended ... Shows how archaeology is practised and understood today. I particularly liked the clear diagrams, the extended captions to illustrations and the key references next to each sub-section. the text is clear, interesting and intelligible.'

- Mick Aston, University of Bristol

'This blockbuster is my top recommendation for a single-author introduction to archaeology - history, menthod and theory. In it's previous editions Archaeology: An Introduction has always stood apart through its readability and the way the author interprets in his own way the ever-increasing complexity and diversity of the discipline. This new fourth edition is infinitely fuller in detail and as up-to-date as any student or lay reader may wish without sacrificing that attractive clarity and personal presence.' - John Bintliff, University of Leiden

'It has become a classic in the classroom. What makes it that - and even more so in the new edition - is its ability to put the theory and practice of archaeology into an historical perspective, making it comprehensible and readable. A classic has become even better.'

- Kristian Kristiansen, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

'It should find a place on every undergraduate's bookshelf, and will also be useful for " A" level and other students who want a good introduction to the subject. It is not only a very good introduction to the theory behind archaeology and its history, but it also provides a good review of archaeological techniques. It is well illustrated throughout, and with easy-to-find references and suggestions for further reading it is the ideal textbook for those at the start of their archaeological careers.'

- Francis Pryor, President of the Council for British Archaeology