Must-Have References for Historical Archaeologists

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Unlike the other reference book lists on the site, these are not material-specific. Rather, these are (in no particular order) some of what I consider to be classic texts in historical archaeology -- the ones I find myself going back to again and again; or, in the case of new publications, the ones I anticipate going back to again and again! This list will be added to as time goes on... If you think I've overlooked something (probably!), drop me a line and let me know!

These reference books are offered (many at a substantial discount) in conjunction with Amazon.com.

For more information about a book, or to order, simply click on the title of the book.


ImageIf These Pots Could Talk : Collecting 2,000 Years of British Household Pottery By Ivor Noel Hume. Published by Chipstone, 2001. Hardcover, 500 pages. Truly a labor of love! This incredible tome documents decades of Ivor and Audrey's ceramics collecting habit. Full of wonderful stories, and priceless information and excellent, detailed photographs.
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Ceramics In America Edited by Robert Hunter. Published by Chipstone, 2001. Softcover, 300 pages. This annual series (2001 being the inaugeral issue) has all the hallmarks of becoming a classic reference for historic ceramics.
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A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America By Ivor Noel Hume. Published by University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001. Paperback, 330 pages. One of the classics! A super introduction to the vast array of colonial artifacts you may encounter.
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In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life By James Deetz. Revised and expanded edition, published by Anchor, 1996. Paperback. This classic work introduces what it is, and how it is, that historical archaeologists do. It has been around a long time, but should still be required reading!
Image Bricks and Brickmaking: A Handbook for Historical Archaeology By Karl Gurke. Published by University of Idaho Press, 1987. Softcover, 344 pages. A great introduction to bricks and brickmaking. While it focuses primarily on western American bricks, archaeologists in other areas will also find this useful.
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Human Osteology : A Laboratory and Field Manual By Williama Bass. 4th edition, published by the Missouri Archaeological Society, 1995. Softcover. An excellent manual when dealing with human remains. Covers bone identification (including side), sex determination, and estimation of age at death and stature. This one got me through several years of human osteology courses!
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Human Skeletal Remains: Excavation, Analysis, Interpretation By Douglas Ubelaker. Third edition, published by Taraxacum, 1999. Hardcover, 172 pages. One of *the* classic works on human osteology, with tons of photographs and information on pathologies.
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Consumer Choice in Historical Archaeology By Suzanne M. Spencer-Wood. Published by Plemun, 1987. Hardcover. A very nice introduction to this complex subject.
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Encyclopedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks By Geoffrey Godden. Reprint edition published by Barrie and Jenkins, 1991. Hardcover. If you're finding makers marks on your ceramics, this is the first place to look!
coverDocumentary Archaeology in the New World By Mary Beaudry. Reprint edition published by Cambridge University Press, 1993. Paperback. A superb primer on using documents in your research
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The Parks Canada Glass Glossary By Olive Jones. Published National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Parks Canada. Paperback, 184 pages. Often hard to find, you can also get this amazing reference direct from Parks Canada. Details manufacturing processes, descriptive terminology, and dating for table and bottle glass.
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Vestiges of Mortality and Remembrance: A Bibliography on the Historical Archaeology of Cemeteries By Edward Bell. Published by Scarecrow Press, 1994. Hardcover, 439 pages. If you're dealing with a cemetery, you will want a copy of this well-organized bibliography to lead you to the literature you will need. Over 1,900 citations.
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Archaeology of Ritual and Magic By Ralph Merrifield. Published by New Amsterdam Books, 1990. Paperback, 244 pages. A fascinating look at ritual and magic in the archaeological record. Worth a read!
coverBoats: A Manual For Their Documentation By Willits Ansel. Published by Mystic Seaport, 1993. Textbook binding, 415 pages. An incredible introduction to documenting boats.
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Elements of Archaeological Conservation By J. Cronyn. Published by Routledge, 1990. Paperback. A superb primer on conserving archaeological artifacts in the field, to prevent deterioration and loss before analysis. If you've ever bagged something, only to find it has become mush by the time it reaches the lab, this book is for you! Buy two copies, and take one into the field with you.


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