Whether it's Tomb Raider or Roman coins, the conventional view of archaeology as a discipline solely preoccupied with long dead cultures is misleading. In fact, archaeology is better described as a mode of thought - one by which we can better understand our past, present and future. Indeed, by studying artefacts of past human activity, we can even learn to better tackle great contemporary challenges like high population density and climate change.
Spanning the globe and centuries - from Mesolithic burials in Sweden to modern landfill sites in Arizona - Joe Flatman shows how to view the world with an archaeologist's insight. What does a discarded food packet reveal about contemporary consumption patterns? How can infrared satellite imagery tell archaeologists where to undertake expensive excavation projects? What can archaeology reveal about the beginnings of the human race? Replete with textboxes highlighting key case studies from the history of the subject, and containing invaluable diagrams and photos illustrating the reality of being an archaeologist, this is the essential primer to reading landscapes, objects, and places.
Joe Flatman is the Head of Central Casework and Programmes at English Heritage. He was previously a senior lecturer in archaeology at University College London and the County Archaeologist of Surrey. His most recent book Becoming an Archaeologist was named Current Archaeology Book of the Year. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.