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The Five-Minute Archaeologist in the Southern Levant

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The Five-Minute Archaeologist in the Southern Levant is a user-friendly exploration of basic concepts within archaeology and the techniques and methods used by archaeologists in the field. It is intended for students and lay readers alike, such as those participating in community archaeology for the first time, and would be an excellent reader for introductory level courses on the archaeology of the Southern Levant. Topics range from basic questions such as 'how do archaeologists chose where to dig?' to surveys of archaeological concepts and types of archaeology, written by specialists in those particular fields. Chapters are informal and relaxed – more like a chat or discussion that will help to answer some of the basic questions that archaeologists are often asked.

Published: Sep 9, 2016

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
Contributor Biographies Cynthia Shafer-Elliott
Introduction Cynthia Shafer-Elliott
Part 1: Basics
1. What is archaeology? Aren Maeir
2. How does archaeology help us understand the past? Merilyn Copland
3. What do tells tell us? Merilyn Copland
4. Who pays for all this? Oded Borowski
5. Do archaeologists just dig, or is there a plan? Itzhaq Shai
6. How are sites chosen? Aren Maeir
7. Who decides who can dig and where? Chris McKinney
8. Why not dig the whole site? Aren Maeir
9. What is a survey and why use it? Joe Uziel
10. Why leave balks around squares? Oded Borowski
11. What is a locus? Tim Frank
12. What is a phase and a stratum? Eric Welch
13. Are there rules for excavating or special techniques? Chris McKinney
14. How are measurements taken and why? Eric Welch
15. Why sift and how often? Joe Uziel
16. How do you know what things to record? Seung Ho Bang
Part 2: Artifacts, Architecture, and Dating
17. What if an animal got there first? Elizabeth Arnold
18. What is an artifact? Edward Maher
19. How do you identify an artifact and how it was used? Tim Frank
20. What can pottery tell us? Nava Panitz-Cohen
21. What do we Learn from Whole or Broken Pots? Jill Katz
22. What Is primary vs. secondary use? Erin Darby
23. How is pottery processed during/after the excavation? Nava Panitz-Cohen
24. How can 3D imaging help? Tim Frank
25. How do you spot mudbrick walls? Amihai Mazar
26. How do you identify dirt floors? Oded Borowski
27. How do you identify dirt roads? Rafael Lewis
28. How do you date things? Eric Welch
29. What is absolute or relative about dating? Jill Katz
30. Where's the science in all this? Shira Gur-Arieh
31. What is carbon dating? Michael Dee
32. Can Bayesian statistics help pinpoint dating? Michael Dee
33. What Is Dendrochronology? Brita Lorentzen
34. What happens to all the data? Piotr Bienkowski
Part 3: Types of Archaeology
35. What is Processual Archaeology? Sarah Costello
36. What is Post-Processual Archaeology? Sarah Costello
37. What is EthnoArchaeology? Jennie Ebeling
38. What is Experimental Archaeology? Jennie Ebeling
39. What is Household Archaeology? Cynthia Shafer-Elliott
40. What is Gender Archaeology? Cynthia Shafer-Elliott
41. How do you identify children in the archaeological record? Rona Lewis
42. What is Funerary Archaeology? Helen Dixon
43. How do you define cultic context? Jonathan Greer
44. How do you define ethnicity? Aaron Brody
45. What can we learn from the ancient environment? Elizabeth Arnold
46. What is Landscape Archaeology? Rafael Lewis
47. What is MicroArchaeology? Deirdre Fulton
48. What do we learn from animal bones? Jonathan Greer
49. Why study garbage? Deirdre Fulton
50. What is ArchaeoMetallurgy? Naama Yahalom-Mack
Part 4: Ethical Issues
51. What is kept and what Is not, and why? Leann Pace
52. Who owns the artifacts found? Leann Pace
53. How do artifacts end up In museums? Helen Dixon
54. How much looting takes place during or after a dig? Laura Wright
55. How is archaeology used to support nationalism? Erin Darby
56. It is ethical to dig in contested areas? Laura Wright
End Matter
Index Cynthia Shafer-Elliott


This volume offers biblical scholars a thorough (and accessible) introduction to archaeological methods, answering basic questions about how sites are chosen, what a locus is, and how measurements are taken and why; and also covering more complex issues such as how to date things and how to identify dirt floors. Each of the 56 chapters are clear, readable and concise, offering further reading recommendations for each topic. Later chapters cover thematic types of archaeology, such as gender, funerary, household and landscape, as well as ethical issues such as artefact ownership, museums, looting, and excavation in contested areas. Specialist terms are explained clearly and topics are treated with sufficient depth and detail, whilst keeping the reader interested and engaged. I would highly recommend this book to those about to embark on the use of archaeology in their work as well as for teaching undergraduate classes which implement archaeological methods and/or sources.
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

I recommend The 5 Minute Archaeologist in the Southern Levant to anyone with a general interest in archaeology.
Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies