At Home in Roman Egypt: a social archaeology

Review by Barbara E Borg ‘The real essence of an age is better revealed among trivial and commonplace things than among prominent monuments and great leaders.’ The opening sentence of this book captures succinctly its underlying principles. Following two chapters outlining the approach and the wider social and topographical context…

Ancient Households on the North Coast of Peru

Review by M Elizabeth Grávalos What makes a home? All humans have ideals of home, but no two people conceptualise home and their household in the same manner. Yet despite this diverse human experience, many archaeologists rely on rigid household models to interpret domestic life in the past. Ancient Households…

Corpus of the Mosaics of Albania Volume 1: Butrint intramuros

Review by Oliver J Gilkes Everybody likes mosaic pavements; they are ancient artefacts that entrance and beguile the visitor at Greek and Roman sites. No matter that floor mosaics (the majority of survivals) were little more than rugs and mats, and it was the walls that mattered most to antique…

Russia: Revolution and Civil War 1917-1921

Over a career as one of Britain’s most prolific military historians, Sir Antony Beevor has produced some of the most compelling narratives of 20th-century conflict. Perhaps most famous for Stalingrad, Beevor has subsequently published a series of well-received studies of specific offensives within the Second World War, including D-Day, the…

Resistance: The Underground War in Europe, 1939-45

REVIEW BY DAVID PORTER. This is a highly detailed (936 pages!) study of resistance across Europe during the Second World War, from its tentative beginnings in 1939 to the large-scale partisan warfare of 1944-1945. Indeed, the author’s coverage of the subject is so extensive that any review can do little…

The New Model Army: Agent of Revolution

REVIEW BY DAVID FLINTHAM. Created in 1645, the New Model Army was a truly formidable fighting force: in the first six years of its existence, it crushed Royalist resistance in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and brought about the execution of King Charles I. Yet, paradoxically, it was instrumental in the…

1945: Victory in the west

REVIEW BY GRAHAM GOODLAD. Over the past decade, Peter Caddick-Adams has established himself as a leading historian of land warfare in the second half of World War II. 1945: Victory in the West completes a trilogy in which the author has already covered the Normandy campaign and the Battle of…

Crucible of Nations: Scotland from Viking Age to medieval kingdom

Review by Russell Ó Ríagáin. This book is the third in a series associated with the Glenmorangie Company Research Project at National Museums Scotland, treating various aspects of Iron Age and medieval northern Britain. Arguably, it has been the most anticipated of the series, not least due to the author’s…

Street Furniture

Review by AB. The term ‘street furniture’ encompasses a wide range of everyday objects that are found along roads and in towns and cities around the world, from manhole covers and postboxes to bus stops and cabman’s shelters. In this book, Lynn Pearson looks at the street furniture of the…

Mosaics in Roman Britain

Review by Stephen R Cosh. Anthony Beeson has been among those at the forefront of mosaic research in Britain for many years, particularly on mythological subjects. This little book is very much a personal journey and summarises his own research and interpretations over that time. It is ‘intended as a…

London in the Roman World

Review by Owen Humphreys. You wait decades for a new book about Roman London, then two come along at once. Dominic Perring’s previous work Roman London (Routledge, 1991) was the standard reference for nearly 30 years. Now, just three years after Richard Hingley’s Londinium: A Biography (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), Perring…

Ruins, Remains and Relics: Sussex

Review by Robin Hughes. Ruins, Remains and Relics: Sussex is a miscellany, organised into the three titular groups, of various historical curiosities from across the historic county of Sussex. Horlock explicitly emphasises the ‘unusual, offbeat, and decidedly quirky’, and the items range widely, from entire castles to a single spoon,…

Land of the Ilich: journeys into Islay’s past

Review by HB. In this deep-dive into the archaeology of the Ilich – the people of Islay – Steven Mithen toys with the concept of insularity, presenting an account of Scotland’s southernmost Hebridean island which demonstrates that the area is by no means lacking in historical cultural connections. These stretch…

H of H Playbook

Review by Lucia Marchini. The myth of Heracles, his heroic strength and ability to meet seemingly insurmountable challenges, has proven an enduringly popular one. Emperors and kings made use of his mighty image, and he was even the subject of an animated Disney musical in 1997. Such adoptions of this…

The Greatest Invention: A History of the World in Nine Mysterious Scripts

Review by Andrew Robinson. All academics would presumably regard writing as one of the world’s great inventions, perhaps even the greatest invention. Philologist Silvia Ferrara certainly does. An expert on the undeciphered Cypro-Minoan script, she is the founder of a research group focused on the invention of writing, INSCRIBE (Invention…

Evensong: people, discoveries and reflections on the church in England

Review by Christopher Catling. Reading this book reminds me of the University of London’s Warburg Institute Library, which has a unique classification system designed by the library’s founder, Aby Warburg (1866-1929), to encourage serendipitous discovery: looking for one book, your attention might be directed to another volume that takes you…

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