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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Handbook Of Archaeological Methods edited by Herbert D. G. Maschner, Christopher Chippindale (Altamira Press) comprises 37 articles by leading archaeologists on the key methods used by archaeologists in the field, in analysis, in theory building, and in managing cultural resources. The book is destined to become the key reference work for archaeologists and their advanced students on contemporary archaeological methods. More

Archaeology In Practice: A Student Guide To Archaeological Analyses by Jane Balme, Alistair Paterson (Blackwell Publishing Professional) (Paperback) This volume is intended for archaeology students who are learning how to analyze archaeological materials. For many years, we have been involved in teaching university courses in field and laboratory techniques in archaeology. Over a cup of coffee during one of these courses, we were bemoaning the fact that, although there are many books on field methods (especially excavation techniques), much less is available on archaeological analysis techniques beyond the introductory first-year archaeology level. What we wanted was a series of essays that showed students how different kinds of archaeological materials are used to answer research questions. In our experience, students are more likely to understand this link when they learn from archaeologists who are talking about their own research problems and how they solved them. It brings a sense of immediacy to the work that makes it much more fun for them to read. Thus, to remedy the problem of the lack of such materials for students to read, we decided to assemble a collection of essays by experts on archaeological analysis. More

Laser Ablation-ICP-MS in Archaeological Research edited by Robert J. Speakman, Hector Neff (University of New Mexico Press) These fifteen essays explore the archaeological applications of an exciting new field of research in materials science. Since the first archaeometric uses of inductively coupled plasma (ICP) in the early 1980s, most applications have required the processing of solid samples with heat and/or strong acids. This is time consuming, expensive, and sometimes dangerous.

An alternative sample-introduction technique, laser ablation (LA), became commercially available in the mid-1990s. The coupling of laser ablation with state-of-the-art inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometers (ICP-MS) has resulted in the development of extremely sensitive microprobes capable of determining most elements of the periodic table. Already recognized as an invaluable technique in earth sciences, zoology, and botany, the use of LA-ICP-MS is being explored in archaeology.

Robert Speakman and Hector Neff bring together writings that specifically describe laser ablation, methods for data quantification, and applications. Originating in New World and Mediterranean sites, the materials whose analysis are described here include paints and glazes, ceramic pastes, lithics, human teeth and bone, and metals.

Contributors: David R. Abbott, Arizona State University, Tempe Ronald L. Bishop, Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education Vera Tiesler Blos, Universidad Autonoma, Yucátan James W. Cogswell, Northland Research, Tempe, Arizona Christina Conlee, University of California, Santa Barbara Andrea Cucina, Universidad Autonoma, Yucátan Benjamin Diebold, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut Michael D. Glascock, University of Missouri, Columbia Brigitte Kovacevich, Vanderbilt University, Nashville Daniel Larson, California State University, Long Beach Michael Love, California State University, Northridge Elizabeth J. Miksa, Center for Desert Archaeology, Tucson Michael P. Neeley, Montana State University, Bozeman Axel E. Nielson, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina Helen P. Pollard, Michigan State University, East Lansing Rachel Popelka, University of Missouri, Columbia Peter Robertshaw, California State University, San Bernardino Tom Roll, Montana State University, Bozeman Sachiko Sakai, University of California, Santa Barbara Candace A. Sall, University of Missouri, Columbia Katharina Schreiber, University of California, Santa Barbara Payson Sheets, University of Colorado, Boulder A. Natasha Tabares, Ancient Enterprises, Inc., Santa Monica, California Kevin J. Vaughn, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Marilee Wood, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa Maria Nieves Zedeño, University of Arizona, Tucson

Centralization, Early Urbanization, and Colonization in First Millenium B.C. Greece and Italy by P. A. J. Attema (Bulletin Antieke Beschaving. Supplement, 9: Peeters) This volume brings together a number of case studies in the landscape archaeology of South and Cen­tral Italy by distinguished scholars writing from first-hand experience. The contributions illustrate the growing interest among Mediterranean landscape archaeologists in long-term regional trends and processes, such as the centralization of indigenous society during protohistory, the interaction between indigenous and Greek and Roman colonial culture, and the formation of the early historic landscape of town and country. The contributions also reflect the increasing sophistication of field methods and material studies as well as theoretically informed desktop studies, which now succeed in mapping a wide range of forms of permanent human settlement and ritual activity in the Italian landscape — from subsistence farms to complex urban settlements and from ritual cave sites to institutionalized sanctuarιes. Contributions by Marianne Kleibrink, Alessandro Vanzetti, Helle Horsnæs, Bert Nijboer, Gert-Jan Burgers, Peter Attema & Martijn ván Leusen. More

Marmes Rockshelter: A Final Report on 11,000 Years of Cultural Use by Brent A. Hicks (Washington State University) Marmes Rockshelter is one of the more important archaeological sites in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest, not only because of the archaeological information it was found to possess, but also because of the attention it generated towards American archaeology throughout the Northwest, the nation, and the world. The political and administrative story behind the excavations that followed the discovery of late-Pleistocene/early-Holocene human skeletal remains in the Marmes site encapsulates, perhaps even incited, the manner of the transition in archaeological studies that played out in the 1970s following passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. That transition led to the current era of archaeological studies epitomized by Cultural Resources Management approaches driven by federal government mandates to preserve archaeological materials and information, and to seek greater public involvement in the management process. It is these mandates that have led full-circle to the current study and completion of a final report some thirty-five years after the Marmes site was excavated.

The Marmes site is important to Archaeology and the northwest, not only because it is a National Historic Landmark site with a long, continuous archaeological record, but because the excitement generated by archaeologists during the investigations in the 1960s translated to the public. The public's curiosity about the antiquity of human use of Mannes Rockshelter and the region and how that curiosity rose beyond an interest in Native American history to questions about all of human history is an example of why cultural resources laws exist and are widely supported. The United States, through both the National Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineers, has invested a considerable sum of money in this site in recognition of the widespread support historic topics have with the public they serve. One of those investments was the protection of the site. Although the coffer-dam failed to keep water from the site it has protected the area from the effects of wave action, which can be extreme along the north shore of the embayment formed by the reservoir at the bottom of the Palouse River canyon. In addition, the extensive efforts to cover the site in plastic sheeting and tons of clean sand before the water rose to the level of the site has protected the site for future research, an appropriate management action for a National Historic Landmark.

Deposits remain at this site that are important for addressing a number of research questions. Some of these questions have been asked previously but have gone wanting due to a lack of data or due to a lack of resolution in the available data that can provide the conclusion desired. Human remains may be present in the deposits that were not excavated. Large areas of the floodplain portion of the site were not excavated and may retain artifacts and features associated with the earliest uses of the Snake River bottom lands by people. Only a few units were excavated to the deepest habitable levels in the rockshelter. The few items found there provide tantalizing clues about how both the rockshelter and the floodplain area contributed to these earliest occupations. This study has made it clear how rare these early site are and how hard they are to find.

Should a substantial drawdown of the reservoir occur that uncovers the area of the Marmes site, the site must be protected from those with a personal interest in what lies within the deposits. If the site is to become exposed for an adequate length of time for the sediments to drain, further excavation at this site is recommended. However, further excavation should not be contemplated without adequate time to conduct careful, detailed work. Such work should be implemented under an Archaeological Resources Protection Act permit with a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary research design, which includes consultation with and involvement of affected Native American tribes. In the course of the fieldwork, the public must be allowed to participate in an appropriate manner.

Continued study of the Marmes site and its relationship with other sites in the Palouse River canyon should engage Native American tribes with interests in the history of their people at this location. Relating the traditional knowledge of cultural use of the area with the different site types represented will provide corresponding data of use to archaeology and to the tribes.

The Mannes site collection contains human remains and grave goods, which must be repatriated under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act if a claim is made by a Native American tribe. Because the Marmes human remains were recovered from strata that span some 10,000 years, the results of the Kennewick Man court case will need to be weighed in the Corps of Engineers' decision-making and repatriation process on the Marmes site collection.

The Marmes collection would benefit from additional curatorial work. Efforts to locate missing items that may be incorrectly boxed with other site collections should be continued, as should seeking records that can provide provenience information for those materials that lack it. The Corps should continue to gather outstanding records related to Marmes Rockshelter and previous research into the collection; such records should be appropriately curated with the collection. This study sorted the cultural material from numerous screened, bulk samples that were created during the 1968 excavations in the floodplain area of the site. The samples were not sorted in the field due to the limited time for excavation and the need tofocus the available manpower on excavating. Many more such samples remain in the collection unsorted. Most of the contents of the unsorted bulk samples are non-cultural gravels and root casts that would not pass through the screen mesh. These non-cultural sediments represent a considerable volume of material that is being maintained as if it is of archaeological value. The cultural material should be sorted out of the bulk sediments and accessioned into the collection and the non-cultural remainder discarded, as it would have been if it had been sorted in 1968.

Until such time that further archaeological work may be possible at the Marmes site, the current collection and the data from this study represent the site. One of the principal goals of this study was to make the data from the site available for use by Plateau researchers, and as expected there is a lot of it. The author's intent since the inception of this study has been to make the data resulting from this study available digitally for ease of use. This has been made possible by the Corps of Engineers and Washington State University, where the University will host a website that contains the data in a downloadable format. It is recommended that the Corps of Engineers and Washington State University enter into an agreement that will ensure that the website is maintained well into the future. Many research questions not addressed by this study, and further inquiry into those that were addressed here, can be examined using this data. Correlation of material types between sites in the region, to examine all manner of hypotheses, has the potential to make significant contributions to our understanding of human use of the Plateau. In the end, this is likely to be the principal contribution of this study.

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