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Archaeology

In September 2022 Oxbow's bookshop and distribution business merged with Pen & Sword Books, a family run independent publisher of history books. As Casemate UK, this new distribution business will continue to bring you the best books in the field of archaeology and related disciplines from our partner publishers. The Oxbow Books publishing imprint remains as a separate entity, still sold and distributed exclusively by us. Browse the archaeology subjects below, or visit our Ancient History and Medieval History books landing pages in the menus above.

Excavations on Wether Hill, Ingram, Northumberland, 1994–2015 Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 152
ISBN: 9781789259698
Pub Date: 15 Jul 2023
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Series: Northern Archaeology
The Northumberland Archaeological Group’s (NAG) Wether Hill project spanned the years 1994–2015 and was located on the eponymous hilltop overlooking the mouth of the Breamish Valley in the Northumberland Cheviots. The project had been inspired by the RCHME’s ‘Southeast Cheviots Project’ that had discovered and recorded extensive prehistoric and later landscapes.   The NAG project investigated several sites. Over the 11 seasons of excavation, NAG recorded evidence of residual Mesolithic activity (microliths), a burial cairn containing two Beakers in an oak coffin, which was superseded by a stone-built cist containing three Food Vessels, Iron Age cord rig cultivation and clearance cairns, a series of Middle/Late Iron Age timber-built palisaded enclosures, a cross-ridge dyke, which protected the southern approach to the Wether Hill fort, and sampled the multi-period bivallate hillfort.   The hillfort sequence on Wether Hill began with a succession of palisaded enclosures, which were later replaced by bivallate earth and stone defenses; both phases appear to have been associated with timber-built houses. Eventually the fort was abandoned, and three stone-built roundhouses were constructed in the fort. The 18 radiocarbon dates obtained from various contexts in the hillfort makes this site one of the better dated forts in the Borders.   The chronology of the Wether Hill fort spanned the Middle/Late Iron Age, which corresponds with dates from palisaded enclosures excavated elsewhere on the hilltop spur. Taken together, this evidence provides a snapshot of settlement hierarchies and agricultural practices during the later Iron Age in this part of the Northumberland Cheviots. The excavations also help contextualise some of the RCHME survey evidence, providing data to model chronology, potential prehistoric settlement density and land-use patterns at different time periods in the well-preserved archaeological landscapes of the Cheviots.
Broken Pots, Mending Lives Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781789259384
Pub Date: 05 Jul 2023
Imprint: Oxbow Books
For those that survive, the traumas of military conflict can be long lasting. It might seem astonishing that archaeology, with its uncovering of the traces of the long-dead, of battlefields, of skeletal remains, could provide solace, and yet there is something magical about the subject. In archaeology there is a job for everyone; from surveying and drawing, to examining the finds, to digging itself. Often this is in some of the most beautiful and restful of landscapes and with talks around a campfire at the end of the day. Operation Nightingale is a programme which was set up in 2011 within the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom to help facilitate the recovery of armed forces personnel recently engaged in armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, using the archaeology of the British Training Areas. Over the following decade, the project has expanded to include veterans of older conflicts and of other nations – from the United States, from Poland, from Australia and elsewhere. This book is the story of those veterans, of their incredible discoveries, of their own journeys of recovery – sometimes one which can lead to a lifetime of studying archaeology. It has taken them to the crash sites of Spitfires and trenches of the Western Front in the First World War, through to burial grounds of Convicts, camp sites of Hessian mercenaries, and Anglo-Saxon cemeteries. Lavishly illustrated, this work shows the reader how the discovery of our shared past – of long-forgotten houses, of glinting gold jewellery, of broken pots, can be restorative and help people mend otherwise damaged lives. The book features a foreword and illustrations by Professor Alice Roberts, presenter on BBC's The Big Dig, Digging for Britain and Coast, alongside superb photography by Harvey Mills.
Interamna Lirenas Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 172
ISBN: 9781913344108
Pub Date: 26 Jun 2023
Imprint: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
This volume provides the results of the application of non-destructive archaeological methods (geophysical prospection and systematic surface collections) to the study of the urban site. It includes a review of what was known of the town and a discussion of the development, potential and limitations of the kind of high-resolution, extensive ground-penetrating radar survey which was carried out. Special emphasis is placed on the earliest colonial phase as well as later transformations, and explores how the inhabitants of Interamna Lirenas responded to the challenges and opportunities presented by a growing Roman world.
Ballynahatty Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781789259711
Pub Date: 15 Jun 2023
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Just six miles from the center of Belfast, County Down, on the plateau of Ballynahatty above the River Lagan, is one of Ireland’s great Neolithic henge monuments: the 200 m wide Giant’s Ring. For over a thousand years, this area was the focus of intense funerary ritual seemingly designed to send the dead to their ancestors and secure the land for the living. Scattered through the fields to the north and west of the Ring are flat cemeteries, standing stones, tombs, cists, and ring barrows – ancient monuments that were leveled by the plough when the land was enclosed in the 18th and 19th centuries.   A great 90 m long timber enclosure with an elaborate entrance and inner ‘temple’ was first observed through crop marks in aerial photos. Excavation of the site between 1990–1999 revealed a complex structure composed of over 400 postholes, many over 2 m deep. This was a building in the grand style, elegantly designed to control space, views, and access to an inner sanctum containing a platform for exposure of the dead.   By 2550 BC, the timber ‘temple’ had been swept away in a massive conflagration and the remains dismantled. Ballynahatty was one of the last great public ceremonial enterprises known to have been constructed by the Neolithic farmers in Northern Ireland, an enterprise proclaiming their enigmatic religion, ancestral rights and territorial aspirations.   This report reconstructs the remarkable building complex and explains the sophistication and organization of its construction and use. The report sets the site and excavation in the wider development of the Ballynahatty landscape and its study to the present day.
Community Archaeology on Hadrian’s Wall 2019–2022 Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781789259599
Pub Date: 15 Jun 2023
Imprint: Oxbow Books
The Hadrian’s Wall Community Archaeology Project (WallCAP) was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to promote the value of heritage – specifically of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site – to local communities, and to provide opportunities for volunteers to engage with the archaeology and conservation of the Wall to better ensure the future of the monument. This short book provides a summary of the project, communicating the range of activities undertaken during the project and key results. It explores the structure and aims of the project, and creates an insightful overview of the many different people and communities that participated. Archaeological fieldwork resulted in a number of new discoveries and insights into Hadrian’s Wall. The revolutionary new work to explore the stones of Hadrian’s Wall, its source geology and how stones were reused from the monument is also discussed. Each chapter is supported by full colour illustrations, and contributions from project volunteers also bring the project into a vibrant focus.
Road to the Manor Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9780904220919
Pub Date: 15 Jun 2023
Imprint: Oxford Archaeology
Series: Oxford Archaeology Monograph
Oxford Archaeology undertook a series of excavations in 2015–16 at Graven Hill on the former site of MoD Bicester, a large military storage and distribution centre built during the Second World War. The archaeological works revealed evidence of prehistoric, Roman, medieval and post-medieval activity, as well as finds relating to the use of the military site during the 1940s and 1950s.   Ephemeral signs of early prehistoric activity were limited to stone tools, including an impressive Neolithic axe head, and a Bronze Age cremation burial. The first sign of occupation dated to the middle Iron Age in the form of a small settlement on the northern slope of the hill. A late Iron Age settlement to the north-west appeared to have been abandoned shortly after the Roman invasion, perhaps as a direct consequence of the arrival of the army at Alchester, 1.6km west of Graven Hill. This coincided with the construction of Akeman Street, the alignment of which was discovered to circumnavigate the north side of the hill.   The town of Bicester later originated in the 6th century AD, around the time that a collection of dress and personal items were buried to the north of Graven Hill. A new farmstead was established in the late 11th century, developing in the 13th century with a series of masonry buildings arranged around a central courtyard, linked via a road to the deserted medieval village at Wretchwick. The site is significant for its well-preserved structural foundations and a considerable number of artefacts, including one of the largest medieval pottery assemblages known from rural Oxfordshire. The farmstead was abandoned about the same time as the village in the mid-14th century, perhaps as a result of the Black Death. The land was subsequently used for agriculture until the development of MoD Bicester in the 1940s. Together, the archaeological findings presented in this monograph have enriched our understanding of the history of the Oxfordshire landscape.
The Battle of Pinkie, 1547 Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781789259735
Pub Date: 15 Jun 2023
Imprint: Oxbow Books
The Battle of Pinkie, fought between the English and the Scots in 1547, was the last great clash between the two as independent nations. It is a well-documented battle with several eyewitness accounts and contemporary illustrations. There is also archaeological evidence of military activities. The manoeuvres of the two armies can be placed in the landscape near Edinburgh, despite considerable developments since the 16th century. Nevertheless, the battle and its significance has not been well understood.   From a military point of view there is much of interest. The commanders were experienced and had already had battlefield successes. There was an awareness on both sides of contemporary best practice and use of up-to-date weapons and equipment. The Scots and the English armies, however, were markedly different in their composition and in the strategy and tactics they employed. There is the added ingredient that the fire from English ships, positioned just off the coast, helped decide the course of events.   Using contemporary records and archaeological evidence, David Caldwell, Victoria Oleksy, and Bess Rhodes reconsider the events of September 1547. They explore the location of the fighting, the varied forces involved, the aims of the commanders, and the close-run nature of the battle. Pinkie resulted in a resounding victory for the English, but that was by no means an inevitable outcome. After Pinkie it briefly seemed as if the future of Britain had been redefined. The reality proved rather different, and the battle has largely slipped from popular consciousness. This book provides a reminder of the uncertainty and high stakes both Scots and English faced in the autumn of 1547.
Thirdspace in Assyrien und Urartu Cover Thirdspace in Assyrien und Urartu Cover
Format: 
Pages: 330
ISBN: 9789464280555
Pub Date: 25 May 2023
Imprint: Sidestone Press
Pages: 330
ISBN: 9789464280548
Pub Date: 25 May 2023
Imprint: Sidestone Press
Wie lässt sich Subalternität in der Vergangenheit untersuchen, wenn heute fast ausschließlich Hinterlassenschaften der Eliten erhalten sind? Warum lohnt sich eine solche Untersuchung und wo führt sie hin? Diesen Fragen wird in dem vorliegenden Buch über die Beziehung von Assyrien und Urartu im eisenzeitlichen Nordmesopotamien (ca. 9. bis 7. Jh. v.u.Z.) nachgegangen. Denn zwischen den kriegerischen Nachbarn gab es eine Vielzahl Deportierter und Kriegsgefangener, deren Erfahrungen und Leben in der Forschung bisher wenig Beachtung fanden. Dabei konnten postmoderne und postkoloniale Denker:innen aus Literaturwissenschaften, Humangeographie oder Soziologie unlängst darlegen, dass historisch oft gerade diese ausgegrenzten, vergessenen gesellschaftlichen Gruppen zum Motor von Veränderung werden.Dieses Buch reiht sich ein in einen interdisziplinären Diskurs über Subjektivierung, Produktion von (sozialem) Raum, Subalternität und Habitus, und integriert diese Konzepte in die Archäologie Westasiens. Dabei werden verschiedene Orte mittels Methoden aus dem Feld der „Archäologie der Sinne“ quantitativ und qualitativ untersucht, um auf die Grundzüge der sinnlichen Organisation Urartus und Assyriens zu schließen. Die Gegenüberstellung der so rekonstruierten sensorischen Welten geschieht vor dem Hintergrund der Frage, wie Deportierte und Kriegsgefangene nach ihrer Verschleppung die neue Umgebung wahrnahmen. Welche Auswirkungen hatte dieser abrupte Wandel der Lebensverhältnisse durch Gefangenschaft und Zwangsumsiedlung? Wie wurden die neuen, subalternen Subjektpositionen nonverbal mittels räumlicher Ordnung kommuniziert und evoziert – und gab es Stellen, an denen es durch Irritation, Missverständnis und ungeplantes Verhalten zu niedrigschwelliger Subversion kam?English abstractHow can subalternity be studied in the past when today almost exclusively the remains of the elites are preserved? Why is such an investigation worthwhile and where does it lead? These are the questions Vera Egbers explores in her book on the relationship of Assyria and Urartu in Iron Age northern Mesopotamia (c. 9th to 7th centuries BCE). For between these neighbors, who were engaged in an ongoing violent conflict, there were the numerous deportees and prisoners of war whose experiences and lives have received little attention in research to date. Yet postmodern and postcolonial thinkers from literary studies, human geography, and sociology have already demonstrated that historically it is often these marginalized, forgotten social groups that become the engine of change.This book joins an interdisciplinary discourse on subjectivation, production of (social) space, subalternity, and habitus, and integrates these concepts into the archaeology of West Asia. In doing so, various sites are examined quantitatively and qualitatively using methods from the field of the so-called archaeology of the senses, in order to infer the basic features of the sensory organization of Urartu and Assyria. The comparison of these reconstructed sensory worlds takes place against the background of the question of how deportees and prisoners of war perceived the new environment after their deportation. What were the effects of this abrupt change in living conditions due to captivity and forced resettlement? How were the new, subaltern subject positions communicated and evoked nonverbally by means of spatial organization – and were there places where low-threshold subversion occurred through irritation, misunderstanding, and unplanned behavior?
Containers of Change Cover Containers of Change Cover
Format: 
Pages: 286
ISBN: 9789464270525
Pub Date: 24 May 2023
Imprint: Sidestone Press
Pages: 286
ISBN: 9789464270518
Pub Date: 24 May 2023
Imprint: Sidestone Press
Across Western Asia, the astonishing increase in the availability of durable ceramic containers in the seventh millennium BCE had significant societal repercussions – so much so that vital social, economic, and symbolic activities became dependent upon the availability of pottery containers. These early ceramic containers, however, established themselves alongside flourishing pre-existing container traditions, with vessels made in a wide range of materials including clay, bitumen, basketry, leather, wood, and stone. How did prehistoric people respond to the emergence of containers as a key factor in their lives? Building on Olivier Nieuwenhuyse’s rich scholarly legacy, this volume brings together 18 papers by leading scholars in the field of container technology, discussing cases from eastern Asia to Africa, but with a focus on prehistoric Western Asia. Looking not just at pottery but also explicitly beyond, the contributions consider and address the cross-overs of different kinds of raw materials for containers and their crafting; the multiplicity of temporal scales in the production, use and discard of pottery; the social anchoring of vessels’ use and deposition as evident in their specific contexts; and local as well as regional variations in early pottery.
From Quarries to Rock-cut Sites Cover From Quarries to Rock-cut Sites Cover
Format: 
Pages: 260
ISBN: 9789464261653
Pub Date: 23 May 2023
Imprint: Sidestone Press
Pages: 260
ISBN: 9789464261646
Pub Date: 23 May 2023
Imprint: Sidestone Press
The archaeological study of quarries focuses mainly on the reconstruction of the extraction process, while rock-hewn spaces have often been approached from the point of view of architectural styles or art-history. Nevertheless, a holistic structural approach to the study of these spaces could allow a better understanding of the agency of those who carved the stone. Stone quarries and rock-cut sites have rarely been included in global studies of historical landscapes and few are the forums dedicated to the theoretical and methodological debate over the importance that these sites have for the understanding of past societies. To fill the gap, the proceedings volume aims at providing new data on sites located in Africa (Ethiopia, and Egypt), Europe (France, Croatia, Italy, Spain) and Asia (Turkey, Saudi Arabia) studied with a diachronic approach, as well as new theoretical reflections for the international debate on the archaeological investigation of rock-cut spaces and stone quarries. Two directions structure this volume: the analysis of the individual rock walls, considering the study of tool traces as a proxy for understanding the carving phases, as well as the analysis of the structure (site/quarry) as a whole, by contextualizing the results of the study of the single walls.The volume mainly targets researchers who are willing to discover quarries and rock-cut sites as aspects of the same mining phenomenon: places in which specific empirical and handcrafting knowledge related to stone working is expressed and conveyed, but also a wider audience that is interested in these peculiar and impressive sites.
Commemorating Classical Battles Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781789259353
Pub Date: 15 May 2023
Imprint: Oxbow Books
This is a study of the commemoration of Classical Greek battles, approaching monuments and other mnemonic practices as vital elements in the creation and curation of memories. It analyses the diachronic development of battlefield, sanctuary, and city spaces, as evidenced by archaeological remains and ancient literary sources. In addition, it explores the experience of the commemorative spaces through the application of theories of space, phenomenology, and social memory. Following a biographical approach, the commemoration of each battle is organised into stages of initial commemoration, official monumentalisation, memory curation, memory lapse, and reception. The research has led to several conclusions. While the commemoration of each battle can be divided into stages, these stages are not always discrete. There is variation in the types of commemorations within the stages, dependent on time, surrounding space, and the parties involved. Single commemorations can resonate differently with multiple audiences. The processes within the stage of memory curation lead to the subsequent lapse. The final stage of commemoration for each battle begins with the rediscovery of ancient monuments and continues to this day.   The battles of Marathon, Leuktra, and Chaironeia are case studies for three reasons. First, they effectively span the period of Classical Greece (Marathon in 490 BCE to Chaironeia in 338 BCE). Secondly, these battles had different participants, thus allowing a variety of perspectives of both the victorious and the defeated. Lastly, these were battles that left lasting impacts in the material and literary record, making their commemoration relevant not only in antiquity, but also in the modern world.
Fabric of the Frontier Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 184
ISBN: 9781789259506
Pub Date: 15 May 2023
Imprint: Oxbow Books
What is Hadrian’s Wall made of, where did this material come from and how has it been reused in other buildings in the communities that emerged in the centuries after the Roman Empire? By studying the fabric of Hadrian’s Wall using a geological approach combined with archaeological methods, is it possible to refine our answers to these questions? This study describes how the relationship between the geology of the Wall’s landscape and its fabric may be used to further understand the Wall and presents a significant set of new geological and archaeological data on the Wall’s stones from across the length of the Wall.   This data set has been collected in two complementary ways. First as a citizen-science project, where volunteers from local communities were trained to visually characterise sandstones and resulting in data collecting on large numbers of the Wall’s stones along the length of the Wall. Secondly, analytical research was used to gather in scientific data for a selected sets of rocks and stones. Geochemical data was captured using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, and petrographic observations made using a petrographic microscope and thin sections.The combined methods provide a framework for geological analysis of the Wall supported by robust data. It builds on earlier work on Roman quarrying and stone preparation highlighting not only stone sources, but the criteria for choosing stone, stone preparation methods, and the implied routes to the Wall. At the heart of this study lies the ability to uniquely identify different sandstone types. Geological methods used to achieve this are explored, as are the ways in which the sandstones form. This highlights both the possibilities and limits of this approach.
Sentient Archaeologies Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 280
ISBN: 9781789259322
Pub Date: 15 May 2023
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Archaeology in the past century has seen a major shift from theoretical frameworks that treat the remains of past societies as static snapshots of particular moments in time to interpretations that prioritise change and variability. Though established analytical concepts, such as typology, remain key parts of the archaeologist’s investigative toolkit, data-gathering strategies and interpretative frameworks have become infused progressively with the concept that archaeology is living, in the sense of both the objects of study and the discipline as a whole. The significance for the field is that researchers across the world are integrating ideas informed by relational epistemologies and mutually constructive ontologies into their work from the initial stage of project design all the way down to post-excavation interpretation.   This volume showcases examples of such work, highlighting the utility of these ideas to exploring material both old and new. The illuminating research and novel explanations presented contribute to resolving long-standing problems in regional archaeologies across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Oceania. In this way, this volume reinvigorates approaches taken towards older material but also acts as a springboard for future innovative discussions of theory in archaeology and related disciplines.