Great Excavations: Shaping the Archaeological Profession [Paperback]

John Schofield (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781842174098 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2011 | Language: English 368p, 146 b/w and col illus




Great Excavations

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Great excavations inspire and capture the imagination of both the public and archaeologists alike; sites like Danebury, Sutton Hoo, Maiden Castle, Mucking and York conjure images of great discoveries and leaps in knowledge. But what was it like to participate in these excavations? What is the story of these projects, and what made them great? This is a fascinating and entertaining retrospective documenting some of the seminal British excavations, assessing why they were so significant and why they persist in the memory and folklore of archaeologists today. It is also a social history of the profession and one that should stir memories and dispel (or corroborate) some urban myths that younger archaeologists may be aware of. An impressive list of authors and projects make this a significant contribution to the history and development of British archaeology over the course of the twentieth century. Fourteen chapters describe specific projects: Sutton Hoo, Birdoswald, Maiden Castle, Winchester, Owslebury, Danebury, The Breiddin, Wroxeter, Haddenham, Howe, York, Mucking, West Heslerton and Wharram Percy; six further chapters provide a thematic overview, covering early excavations, the IFA, English Heritage and the commercial sector. The world of archaeology has changed dramatically over the past twenty-five years, not least in becoming a profession. One of the clear messages of this book is the requirement for archaeology that great excavations continue in the future, to inspire another generation of archaeologists. The scope of archaeology may have changed, and the methodologies with it. The politics of excavation have changed too, with a more commercially driven and professional endeavour. But it is still, typically, the direct physical engagement with earth, artefacts, place and people (of the past and the present) that draws us in. This is why excavations matter, and why they can be great.

Table of Contents

1. Greatness in depth: Why excavations matter (John Schofield)
2. Some notable British excavations before 1900 (C. Stephen Briggs)
3. Sutton Hoo: An archaeography (Martin Carver)
4. Great excavations enhanced – Birdoswald, Richborough, Whitby and the Chester amphitheatre (Tony Wilmott)
5. Aspiring to greatness: The recent excavations at Maiden Castle (Niall Sharples)
6. The urban revolution: Martin Biddle’s excavations in Winchester, 1961-71 (John Collis)
7. The rural revolution: Excavation of the Iron Age and Roman farming settlement at Owslebury, Hampshire, 1961-72 (John Collis)
8. The Danebury decades (Barry Cunliffe)
9. South Cadbury, The Breiddin, The Rescue Archaeology Group … and then respectability (Chris Musson)
10. The legacy of Howe, thirty years after (Beverley Ballin Smith)
11. Writing into Land: Haddenham and the Lower Ouse environs (Chris Evans)
12. Philip Barker’s Wroxeter (Paul Everill and Roger White)
13. ‘Erik Bloodaxe Rules OK’: The Viking Dig at Coppergate, York (Richard Hall)
14. The Manpower Services Commission and La Grava (Evelyn Baker)
15. Mucking: Real heritage heroism or heroic failure? (Paul Barford)
16. Growing up with Wharram Percy (Bob Croft)
17. West Heslerton: Past, present and future (Dominic Powlesland)
18. Great Expectations, great excavations: The view from the trenches (Paul Everill)
19. Great excavations, developer funding and the future (David Jennings)
20. What the Dickens happened to the IFA? (Peter Hinton)
21. Great Excavations? (Geoff Wainwright)

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