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Olga Tufnell (1905–85) was a British archaeologist working in Egypt, Cyprus, and Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s, a period often described as a golden age of archaeological discovery. Tufnell achieved extraordinary success for an “amateur” archaeologist and as a woman during a time when the field of professional archaeology was heavily dominated b…
 
On this episode of New Books in History, Jamie Kreiner, Associate Professor of History at the University of Georgia, talks about her new book, Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West, out in 2020 with Yale University Press. In the early medieval West, from North Africa to the British Isles, pigs were a crucial part of agriculture and culture. In…
 
Marianne Hem Eriksen (Associate Professor, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester) speaks with Michèle Hayeur Smith (Research Associate, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University) about Smith’s recent book, The Valkyries’ Loom: The Archaeology of Cloth Production and Female Power in the North Atlantic (Univer…
 
Since the beginnings of organized archaeology in the Middle East in the 19th century, western archaeologists have typically employed large “gangs” or “teams” of locals to perform the manual labor of excavating a site. Frequently considered “unskilled” workers, their contributions to archaeology have often been overlooked and underappreciated. Allis…
 
When asked what he saw after reverently peering into the freshly opened tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, Egyptologist Howard Carter could only find the words the say “Wonderful Things.” These words have become legend in Egyptology; whether they were actually spoken by Carter or were ascribed to him after the events took place in order to embellish the …
 
Today we are joined by Fiona Greenland, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, to talk about her new book, Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Raiders, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2021). Through much of its history, Italy was Europe’s heart of the arts, an artistic playground for forei…
 
Studying the New Testament Through Inscriptions (Hendrickson Publishers, 2020)through Inscriptions is an intuitive introduction to inscriptions from the Greco-Roman world. Inscriptions can help contextualize certain events associated with the New Testament in a way that many widely circulated literary texts do not. This book both introduces inscrip…
 
In Ireland in the Virginian Sea: Colonialism in the British Atlantic (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), Audrey Horning revisits the fraught connections between Ireland and colonial Virginia. Both modern scholars and early modern colonialists themselves viewed English incursions into Ireland and North America as intimately related. But the …
 
Deep in the jungles of Myanmar lie the remains of an ancient kingdom, the 15th-century royal city of Mrauk-U. Located in the Bay of Bengal and separated from the rest of the country by the Arakan mountain range, Mrauk-U Township boasts a stunning rural landscape dotted with the hundreds of spires of stone temples, remnants of the former glories of …
 
What are the African Middle Ages? A place, certainly, and a time period, evidently. But also a “documentary regime,” argues François-Xavier Fauvelle. How do we reconstruct these centuries of the African past in the face of a daunting lack of sources? In thirty-four thoughtful vignettes, Fauvelle takes us along for the ride as he wrestles with this …
 
Mexico of five centuries ago was witness to one of the most momentous encounters between human societies, when a group of Spaniards led by Hernando Cortés joined forces with tens of thousands of Mesoamerican allies to topple the mighty Aztec Empire. It served as a template for the forging of much of Latin America and initiated the globalized world …
 
In Collecting Food, Collecting People: Subsistence and Society in Central Africa (Yale University Press, 2016), Kathryn M. De Luna documents the evolving meanings borne in the collection of wild foods for an agricultural people in south central Africa around the turn of the first millennium. It is a history of everyday life that bears great insight…
 
We are schooled to believe that states formed more or less synchronously with settlement and agriculture. In Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States (Yale University Press, 2017), James C. Scott asks us to question this belief. The evidence, he says, is simply not on the side of states. Stratified, taxing, walled towns did not inev…
 
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including t…
 
Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together con…
 
Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions i…
 
The “historical sciences”—geology, paleontology, and archaeology—have made extraordinary progress in advancing our understanding of the deep past. How has this been possible, given that the evidence they have to work with offers mere traces of the past? In Rock, Bone, and Ruin: An Optimist’s Guide to the Historical Sciences (MIT Press, 2018), Adria…
 
The Crusader World (Routledge, 2015), edited by Adrian J. Boas, is a multidisciplinary survey of the current state of research in the field of crusader studies, an area of study which has become increasingly popular in recent years. In this volume Adrian Boas draws together an impressive range of academics, including work from renowned scholars as …
 
How does the world of book reviews work? In Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times (Princeton University Press, 2020), Phillipa Chong, assistant professor in sociology at McMaster University, provides a unique sociological analysis of how critics confront the different types of uncertainty associated with their practice. The …
 
If you’re a grad student facing the ugly reality of finding a tenure-track job, you could easily be forgiven for thinking about a career change. However, if you’ve spent the last several years working on a PhD, or if you’re a faculty member whose career has basically consisted of higher ed, switching isn’t so easy. PhD holders are mostly trained to…
 
We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous―and easier to share than ever. We associate charts with science and reason; the flashy visuals are both appealing and persuasive. Pie charts, maps, bar and line graphs, …
 
After Napoleon occupied Egypt, Europeans became obsessed with the ancient cultures of the Nile. In Britain, the center of Egyptology research was University College London (UCL). At the heart of the UCL program was the Egyptologist, Margaret Alice Murray. During this golden age of Egyptian Archaeology, Murray was training students, running the depa…
 
As you may know, university presses publish a lot of good books. In fact, they publish thousands of them every year. They are different from most trade books in that most of them are what you might called "fundamental research." Their authors--dedicated researchers one and all--provide the scholarly stuff upon which many non-fiction trade books are…
 
The things that make people academics -- as deep fascination with some arcane subject, often bordering on obsession, and a comfort with the solitude that developing expertise requires -- do not necessarily make us good teachers. Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers (We…
 
John D. Hawks talks about new developments in paleoanthropology – the discovery of a new hominid species Homo Naledi in South Africa, the Neanderthal ancestry of many human populations, and the challenge of rethinking anthropological science’s relationship with indigenous peoples and the general public. Hawks is the Vilas-Borghesi Achievement Profe…
 
Thanks to the international tourism industry most people are familiar with the spectacular ruins of Angkor, the great Cambodian empire that lasted from about the 9th to the early 15th century. We are especially familiar with those haunting images of the face of King Jayavarman VII, represented in the stone sculptures of the Bayon temple in Angkor T…
 
Anthropologist PJ Capelotti discusses the role of exploration archaeology in understanding the Pacific voyage of Kon-Tiki, the Arctic airship expeditions of Walter Wellman, and the fate of Orca II, a fishing boat used in the film Jaws. Capelotti is a professor of anthropology at Penn State Abington. He is the author of Adventures in Archaeology: Th…
 
Stretching across the north of England, from coast to coast, are the 73-mile long remnants of a fortification built by the Roman Army during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian. It is, as our guest Adrian Goldsworthy has written, “the largest of the many monuments left by the Roman Empire and one of the most famous.” For centuries the purpose of Hadri…
 
Conventional portrayals of early Ryukyu are based on official histories written between 1650 and 1750. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Gregory Smits makes extensive use of scholarship in archaeology and anthropology and leverages unconventional sources such as the Omoro sōshi(a collection of ancient songs) to present a fundamental rethinking …
 
Domesticating Empire: Egyptian Landscapes in Pompeian Gardens (Oxford University Press, 2019) is the first contextually-oriented monograph on Egyptian imagery in Roman households. Caitlín Eilís Barrett, Associate Professor of Classics at Cornell University, draws on case studies from Flavian Pompeii to investigate the close association between repr…
 
Five decades ago, Native American leaders launched a crusade to force museums to return their sacred objects and allow them to rebury their kin. Today, hundreds of tribes use the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to help them recover their looted heritage from museums across the country. As senior curator of anthropology at the…
 
From its humble beginnings as a crossing point over the river Thames Londinium grew into the largest city in Roman Britain. In Londinium: A Biography (Routledge, 2018), Richard Hingley draws upon the latest archaeological discoveries to provide a look at the growth and development of London over the first centuries of its existence. Though typicall…
 
In the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s conquests, the Seleucid kings ruled a vast territory stretching from Central Asia to Anatolia, Armenia to the Persian Gulf. In a radical move to impose unity and regulate behavior, this Graeco-Macedonian imperial power introduced a linear and transcendent conception of time. Under Seleucid rule, time no lon…
 
In the information age, knowledge is power. Hence, facilitating the access to knowledge to wider publics empowers citizens and makes societies more democratic. How can publishers and authors contribute to this process? This podcast addresses this issue. We interview Professor Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, whose book, The Good Drone: How Social Movements…
 
Building Mid-Republican Rome: Labor, Architecture, and the Urban Economy (Oxford University Press, 2018), offers a holistic treatment of the development of the Mid-Republican city from 396 to 168 BCE. As Romans established imperial control over Italy and beyond, the city itself radically transformed from an ambitious central Italian settlement into…
 
The Macedonian king Alexander III is best remembered today for his many martial accomplishments and the empire he built from them. Yet as Fred S. Naiden details in Soldier, Priest, and God: A Life of Alexander the Great (Oxford University Press, 2018), this ignores what for his subjects were his even more important responsibilities as a religious f…
 
In 1936, long before the discovery of the Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, the Royal Ontario Museum made a sensational acquisition: the contents of a Viking grave that prospector Eddy Dodd said he had found on his mining claim east of Lake Nipigon. The relics remained on display for two decades, challenging understandings of when and where …
 
A new book explores how and why New York City became a showcase for the art and architectural styles of ancient Greece and Rome. Classical New York: Discovering Greece and Rome in Gotham (Empire States Editions, 2018), co-edited by Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis and Matthew McGowan (Fordham University Press, 2018), examines the Greco-Roman influence on b…
 
In Jamestown: The Truth Revealed (University of Virginia Press, 2017; paperback, 2018), William Kelso, Emeritus Head Archaeologist of the Jamestown Rediscovery Project, takes us literally to the soil where the 1607 Jamestown colony began, unearthing footprints of a series of structures, beginning with the James Fort, to reveal fascinating evidence …
 
By the third century BC, the once-modest settlement of Rome had conquered most of Italy and was poised to build an empire throughout the Mediterranean basin. What transformed a humble city into the preeminent power of the region? In The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars(Harvard University Press, 2018), the Durham University historia…
 
In November 2013, two mass burials were discovered unexpectedly on a construction site in the city of Durham in northeast England. Over the next two years, a complex jigsaw of evidence was pieced together by Christopher Gerrard, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Durham, and a team of archaeologists to establish the identity of the human…
 
The world that Alexander remade in his lifetime was transformed once more by his death in 323 BCE. In Age of Conquests: The Greek World from Alexander to Hadrian(Harvard University Press, 2018), Angelos Chaniotis, Professor of Ancient History and Classics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, examines how his successors reorganized Pers…
 
Speaking at a 1913 National Geographic Society gala, Hiram Bingham III, the American explorer celebrated for finding the “lost city” of the Andes two years earlier, suggested that Machu Picchu “is an awful name, but it is well worth remembering.” Millions of travelers have since followed Bingham’s advice. When Bingham first encountered Machu Picchu…
 
McKenzie Wark’s new book offers 21 focused studies of thinkers working in a wide range of fields who are worth your attention. The chapters of General Intellects: Twenty-One Thinkers for the Twenty-First Century (Verso, 2017) introduce readers to important work in Anglophone cultural studies, psychoanalysis, political theory, media theory, speculat…
 
Between 1769 and 1834, an influx of Spanish, Russian, and then American colonists streamed into Alta California seeking new opportunities. Their arrival brought the imposition of foreign beliefs, practices, and constraints on Indigenous peoples. Edited by Kathleen Hull and John Douglass, Forging Communities in Colonial Alta California (University o…
 
Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene (University of Chicago Press, 2018) curates fifteen objects that might serve as evidence of a future past. From a jar of sand to a painting of a goanna, the contributions to this edited collection invite curiosity, care and wonder in their... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap…
 
In this interview, we discuss Andrew Frank‘s most recent book, Before the Pioneers: Indians, Settlers, Slaves, and the Founding of Miami (University Press of Florida, 2017). The book is a concise and authoritative history of the region where modern-day Miami is located. Before the Pioneers, begins thousands of years in... Learn more about your ad c…
 
Sam White’s brand new book A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter with North America (Harvard University Press, 2017) turns the tales we learned in grade school about early European colonization of North America upside-down. In the last decades of the 16th and first decades of the... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph…
 
James F. Brooks, UC Santa Barbara Professor of History and Anthropology and the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow at Vanderbilt University’s Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, offers a scrupulously researched investigation of the mysterious massacre of Hopi Indians at Awat’ovi as well as the event’s echo through American... Learn more ab…
 
In his new book, Hidden in Plain View: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney (NewSouth Publishing, 2017), historian Paul Irish debunks the myth that local Aboriginal people disappeared from Sydney within decades of the arrival of Europeans in 1788. Instead, Irish argues, Aboriginal Australians adapted and maintained a strong bond... Learn more ab…
 
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