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    Uncovering the Past: A History of Archaeology (Paperback) By (author) William H. Stiebing

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    DescriptionWhen one hears the words "archaeology" or "archaeologist," often what comes to mind is an image of a romantic figure: Indiana Jones exploring exotic places in search of treasure and adventure. Indeed, novels, movies, and many popular accounts of archaeological discoveries have made this concept widespread. Tales of abandoned cities, ruined temples, primeval monuments, or mysterious ancient tombs tend to kindle the urge for adventure, exploration, or treasure hunting that seems to lie beneath the surface of even the most timid and conventional individuals. Today, however, archaeologists seek knowledge rather than objects that are intrinsically valuable. Their ultimate goal is to sweep aside the mists in which time has enveloped the past, helping us to understand vanished peoples and cultures. In Uncovering the Past, William H. Stiebing, Jr. offers an absorbing nontechnical history of archaeology, tracing the study of ancient material culture from its beginnings in the Renaissance through its development into the sophisticated modern discipline we know today. The first study to focus on archaeology as a discipline, Stiebing has organized this concise history into the four stages of archaeological development. The first two stages (1450-1860 and 1860-1925), known as the "heroic age," focus on the exploits of colorful, dynamic excavators who have made their mark on history and our imaginations. We read accounts of Giovanni Belzoni and the removal of the seven-ton colossus of Ramesses II, which was dragged by wooden platform and transported by boat from Egypt to London; we witness the cleryman John Peters's skirmish with Arab tribesmen, who surrounded his excavation site and finally pillaged and burned his camp; and Heinrich Schliemann's quest to prove the authenticity of Homer's Iliad by searching for ancient Troy along the Turkish coast. And we watch as archaeology comes of age as an academic discipline, employing stratigraphical excavation techniques, typographical sequence dating, and stratigraphically based pottery chronology-laying the foundation for universal archaeological activity. The third phase (1925-1960) marked the era of "Modern Archaeology," a time when, using the now generally accepted stratigraphical method of excavation, scholars were able to synthesize data to define individual cultures and trace their development through time. This period saw a greater use of scientific instruments and procedures to locate, date, and interpret remains, such as aerial photography, metal detectors, and most importantly, carbon-14 dating and tree-ring chronology. Lastly, Stiebing discusses the fourth phase of development (1960-present) which introduced a greater desire and need for a more complete understanding of ancient cultures, including their ecology, and attempts to explain why certain cultural phenomena occurred. He goes on to examine the greater emphasis on a cultural evolutionary approach, coupled with technological advances in robotics and computers over the last decade and a half and their commonplace role in modern archaeology. With over eighty photographs, illustrations, and maps, this vivid history is an outstanding introduction to the intruguing field of archaeology, chronicling the development of this former pastime of dilettantes into a rigorous science.


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  • Full bibliographic data for Uncovering the Past

    Title
    Uncovering the Past
    Subtitle
    A History of Archaeology
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) William H. Stiebing
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 320
    Width: 152 mm
    Height: 228 mm
    Thickness: 17 mm
    Weight: 503 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780195089219
    ISBN 10: 0195089219
    Classifications

    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25520
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.5
    BIC E4L: HIS
    Ingram Subject Code: AH
    Libri: I-AH
    BISAC V2.8: SOC003000
    DC22: 930.1
    BIC subject category V2: HDW
    LC subject heading:
    BIC subject category V2: HDA
    DC20: 930.109
    LC classification: CC100.S75
    Thema V1.0: NKX, NKA
    Edition statement
    Revised ed.
    Illustrations note
    halftones, line drawings, maps
    Publisher
    Oxford University Press Inc
    Imprint name
    Oxford University Press Inc
    Publication date
    08 December 1994
    Publication City/Country
    New York
    Author Information
    William H. Stiebing, Jr. is Professor of History at the University of New Orleans and author of the critically acclaimed Out of the Desert?.
    Review quote
    non-technical ... logically organised ... The book offers a lasting impression of how young, dynamic and productive the field is. Saudi Aramco World, Vol.52, No.2, March/April 2001