Rena Maguire

Sunshine, lack of external factors to create procrastination and all the fresh fruit you can eat? Sign me up for a desert island! I just hope the dolphins dropped off lots of paper and pens as well!

Now, the books…

1. Renfrew and Bahn’s ‘Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice‘!!!!! People take bibles with them on desert islands, so I think I’d take this, thank you. It has saved my skin so many times through the years it has earned it’s keep! If I remember it also gives many practical survival hints such as flint knapping, metal extraction etc, so it would be very useful on a desert island!

2. Not strictly speaking a book, but a volume of journals bound lovingly… the entire series of Emania (published by Curach Ban books). I cut my teeth on these as a fresher and they sort of dictated the loves of my archaeological life – environmental archaeology and the Iron Age. The journal contains many articles written by people I know and like tremendously, so it would never let me forget them either 🙂

3. Relics of Old Decency, edited by G. Cooney, J. Coles, M. Ryan, S. Sievers and K. Becker (2009).
I always find something new in this weighty tome, every time I take a wander through its pages.

4. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, because they always make me feel I’m going to be okay even when feeling very scared of the big bad world out there. If ever there was a speech written for anyone in the gallant cause of archaeology it’s Samwise’s speech in Two Towers

And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

Pretty much sums up a lot these days.

5. La Tene in Ireland: Problems of Origin and Chronology Barry Raftery (1984). Because that is how you should make a perfect monograph that years later, it’s still the definitive go-to reference book.

6. Early Medieval Ireland AD 400 – 1100 : the evidence from archaeological excavations by F. McCormick, A. O’Sullivan, T. Kerr and L. Harney (2013). I got it out of the library and all I can say is… wow. If you’re going to reassess the past, do it in style, and this is sheer style and substance combined. I’d welcome a long time on a beach to really pore over it, in all it’s complexity.

7. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Because when I was very tiny, my grandmother bought me a copy of this – not that anyone in our house thanked her for it, as I alternated between crying inconsolably at the sad bits and pretending I was a horse at the good bits. Please note I was almost 5 – this was not, contrary to popular belief, last week. It instigated a lifelong passion for animals, and of course horses, and had it been another kind of critter, who knows what kind of PhD I would be working on now!

8. The Rise of Bronze Age Society by Kristian Kristiansen (2010). First time I read this, it just totally inspired me to look at everything differently.

9. Celtic from the West edited by Barry Cunliffe and John Koch — again, something I find inspires me between it and the newer Celtic from the West 2 (I’d ask those helpful dolphins to keep an eye out for that one if they saw it floating around anywhere!)

10. I think I’d rather like a lovely copy of Origin of the Species by Darwin; one of those marvellously illustrated editions, please!

Rena Maguire (@justrena) is a former media sort, and now a postgrad in environmental archaeology at Queen’s Univeristy Belfast. From September, Rena will be a PhD candidate, researching Iron Age equestrianism.

Spencer Carter

A Yorkshire Desert Island: Ten Books that Entrenched a Northern Teen



I don’t do sea very well. I fare better in the air with a rather large Baileys on the rocks. If you wanted to save on dolphin pods or air fare, or rather the air duty that lets me embark to the left, then the closest sandy island I’d be more than happy to drag my tome-filled trunk to would be Lindisfarne — or the Farnes off the Northumberland coast. Yorkshire doesn’t have an island. It is one, a delightful one, in a virtual sea of strange folk with strange accents and rather odd habits. Nowt so queer.

My thinking tree forty years on, our carved initials now archaeology in its bark

My thinking tree forty years on, our carved initials now archaeology in its bark

My ten books take me back to my pre- and early-teen years in the 1970s in north-east England—when we had coal mines, power cuts and manufacturing—and when I myself was ever so strange. Beyond supplementing my MERIT® chemistry set with, frankly, frightening substances that one could then buy at the local chemist or hardware store, my circle of friends were largely over retirement age. The exception was my pyromaniac best friend— partner in chemistry experiments, elderberry wine making (which went very wrong), den-building, treehouse construction, electric fence dares and recording our equivalent of Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with the most hideous sound effects on an old magnetic tape recorder the size of a fridge. Chopping cabbages to replicate the effects of head (or brain) removal was my favourite. We stopped short of trepanation. But HHGTTG is not one of my books. It’s much better left on radio, preferably BBC Radio 4.


In circumstances I cannot entirely remember, a patronal friendship developed with a retired dentist (and genealogist), a Mr T. H. Brown (LDS) who was on the Council of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society. By the age of nine or ten, I was already determined to become an archaeologist, having identified all my fossils from the Yorkshire coast in the Observer’s book of the aforementioned (also not one of my ten), and having found a Mesolithic microlith—the tiny one in this picture above—during one of my frequent, solitary rambles over the North York Moors, a time before ticks and Lyme disease.

5I would visit Mr Brown each weekend to be treated to a slide show of his many travels across Europe and North Africa during the 1950-60s, each replete with breath-taking ruins of ancient cities, mosaic-festooned museums and places now generally off-limits. As a gift, he gave me [1] Jacquetta Hawkes’ Atlas of Ancient Archaeology (1974). That sealed the fate of my move—be off with you damned fossil ferns and belemnites—from palaeontology to archaeology. If that wasn’t enough, he also gave me some of his duplicate copies of the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal (YAJ). While most pre-teenagers were swinging from trees (I preferred sitting in deep holes) or smoking a cheeky cheroot in the woods (I used a clay pipe), I enjoyed nothing better than eating toast and marmite in bed while leafing through the journals—with their enticing ‘old world’ aroma—and fawning over Ordnance Survey Maps.

Book [2] is YAJ volume 42 part 167 (1969) and specifically an article by Jeff Radley ‘The Mesolithic Period in North-East Yorkshire’. Jeff was tragically killed in York (1970) when a trench collapsed in on him during the excavations of the Roman wall and Anglian tower between the public library and Yorkshire Museum.


While my formative archaeological interests were still broad, a second article, in my Book [3] precipitated a particular fascination with the Mesolithic and hunter-gatherers. The article by the late (but then alive) Don Spratt and colleagues in YAJ volume 48 (1976) ‘Mesolithic Settlement Sites at Upleatham, Cleveland’ truly captured my imagination. There also began my life-long affair with the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and British Rail train journeys to its headquarters in Leeds—the venerable Claremont—where I’d browse case upon case of ancient volumes and make squeaking noises on the wooden floors.

Another favourite read was [4] R. G. Collingwood’s The Archaeology of Roman Britain (First Edition 1930). I can’t remember how many times I borrowed a copy—actually Ian Richmond’s updated version—from the local library. If it still exists (the library doesn’t) then most of the date stamps were for me. In York I managed to find a first edition that belonged to R. C. Bosanquet, an early excavator at Housesteads Roman fort, with his review of it glued to the inside cover and fascinating margin comments (and a few corrections). Adding fuel to a fire and passion were [5] Vindolanda – A Roman frontier post on Hadrian’s Wall (1977) by Robin Birley that included the then 122 writing tablets discovered in 1973. Could archaeology get any better (or controversial)? I still love looking at the colour plates. While we might justifiably question some of Alan Sorrell’s (1904-74) reconstructions and visualisations, the book [6] Reconstructing the Past (1981) edited by his son, Mark Sorrell, still inspires awe both for the artist and our archaeology. Many of his illustrations added spice to the rather dry, blue-covered, pre-English Heritage Department of the Environment site guidebooks.

Frank Elgee

Frank Elgee

Having entered Secondary School in 1978, I think—I’m a summer child and was always a year younger than my peers—I faced the scorn of teachers who would admonish “archaeology? Don’t be so stupid, do something sensible like engineering” and general bullying (including being beaten up) for having odd interests and, I suspect, being gay, not that I would come to terms with this for another 15 or more years. Heavens, did that make me even more determined! On the book front, I sought solace in the then most current (and oh so antiquarian) rendition of the region’s archaeology, choice [7] Early Man in North-East Yorkshire (1930) by Frank Elgee, founding curator of the Dorman Museum in Middlesbrough and ‘man of the moors’. Mum’s friends would remember him traveling to work by steam train on the wonderful Esk Valley railway. I still love the juxtaposition of concepts like Pygmy flint folk and Urn folk with what was then emerging in the more recent fieldwork (and the short life of County Cleveland and my local borough, the Wapentake of Langbaurgh, now Redcar & Cleveland—try putting the former on a self-addressed envelope?).


Don Spratt (Northern Echo).

It wasn’t until 1982, as I was studying A Levels, that Don Spratt’s BAR report [8] The Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North-East Yorkshire emerged (subsequently updated and republished as CBA Research Report 87, 1993, downloadable via ADS). This truly put north-east England, at least south of the River Tees, onto the national map. Under the auspices of Blaise Vyner’s Cleveland County Archaeology section, subsequent discoveries were to add an even richer context to the often unique, certainly unexpected, heritage of the north-east. What had been a rural-cum-industrial backwater now demonstrated a wealth of evidence from the earliest post-glacial to WWII. We even have Roman villas and marching camps, bejewelled Saxon princesses buried in beds…who would have reckoned? Ironically, two of the four post-County borough councils no longer fund the shared archaeology service (Tees Archaeology)—a debacle if not a scandal of our times.

My old haunt, the Bill Bryson Library, University of Durham.

My old haunt, the Bill Bryson Library, University of Durham.

Well, dear reader, I did achieve the A level grades (chemistry, history and Latin) to get to my first choice, Durham University, to study archaeology 1984–87 under the professorship of the wonderful Dame Rosemary Cramp and at a time where considerable fieldwork was required as part of the degree course. My penultimate book choice [9] for the Island of Dreams (cf. Dusty Springfield) conjures up incredible memories of digging at Seamer Carr and Star Carr in the Schadla-Hall years (1985-6) in the Vale of Pickering, amongst many other places. Despite decades of debate and reinterpretation, and likely more to come (because we really don’t understand Star Carr in its regional context), Excavations at Star Carr: An Early Mesolithic Site at Seamer near Scarborough, Yorkshire (1954) by J. G. D. Clark is as remarkable for its speed-to-press as it is for the nature of the evidence itself.

The old department of Archaeology on Saddler Street is now The Varsity pub, my old drawing office an outside bar.

The old department of Archaeology on Saddler Street is now The Varsity pub, my old drawing office an outside bar.

The last layer in this peatbog sandwich is a book [10] The Mesolithic in Europe: Papers presented at the Third International Symposium (1989 and 1993), edited by Clive Bonsall, that is in my island trunk because the time of its first publication coincided with my move away from the north-east (with a suitcase full of books, ironed underwear, the wails of a crying mother and a hand-shake from dad as I stepped onto an InterCity 125 at Eaglescliffe station, destination London) and the beginnings of a twenty-five year career outside archaeology.

The Mesolithic fire continued to smoulder and now, some years later, I find myself back in the warm glow of its mystery, materiality (and tangible lithics). My, how the Mesolithic has come along—in many senses, but not so much in others? In my rejuvenated life I am now producing paper as editor for Council for British Archaeology Yorkshire and e-publishing virtual paper as Chair of the Teesside Archaeological Society, on the cusp, with the latter, between paper and ethereality.

Spencer Carter, Mesolithic miscreant, sondage digger and researcher

@microburin | Mesolithic blog
Field Archaeologist and Lithics Specialist | TimeVista Archaeology
Honorary Research Fellow | Department of Archaeology and Hatfield College Senior Common Room, Durham University

Quentin Lewis

I’m an historical archaeologist, which means I’m interested in capitalism, modernity, and the complex constellations of people, spaces, and things that make up the world we live in and its immediate antecedents. Much of what follows represents my own predilections and strange scholarly tangents, and shouldn’t be taken as any kind of canon. Before being shipwrecked, I completed a PhD at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and I was an honorary research fellow at Durham University, working on an archaeology of the Great Depression in England.

Foucault’s pendulum by Umberto Eco

I read this in high school, and will read it again every few years for the foreseeable future, so it had better make it to the island. This was the first book where the grand sweep of history grabbed me, even as it was being deconstructed and reconstructed by the novel’s protagonists. The plot involves the wholesale creation of a vast historical conspiracy by some French intellectuals, involving the medieval Knights Templar, psychogeographical ley lines, and mickey mouse. It taught me postmodernism and its criticisms in the same breath, and introduced me to the complex social and political climate of Europe in the Medieval and late Medieval periods- I almost became a medievalist in order to explore it’s subject, if not its themes. It has some profound lessons about the role of intellectuals in political and social life, which I’m still grappling with. Finally, it’s also about objects, and their secret meanings.

In Small Things Forgotten by James Deetz

A book I often find myself writing against rather than trying to emulate, but still a strong influence on me. Deetz is the father of historical archaeology, in large part because he pushed it from a particularistic and descriptive discipline to a theoretical, humanistic one. He drew on his excavations in Massachusetts and Virginia to locate the relationship between seemingly prosaic material things such as house forms, gravestones, and dining settings and larger structural-cultural frameworks. Indeed, the book’s rigorous internal coherence and organization is part of what continues to inspire me. His pioneering studies of African-American life are equally deft and insightful, and have had a profound impact on the discipline (as has his tutelage of African-American students). Since its publication, Historical archaeology has largely been a series of arguments about or against the terms he set. This will remind me of the importance of keeping a good dinner table, while I’m waiting out my time.

The Condition of Postmodernity by David Harvey

I included Marx’s Capital on this list below, but this is really the book that taught me how to think about Marx in an archaeologically useful way. Ostensibly about the spatial implicaitons of the shift from Fordist Modernism to Neoliberal post-modernism, the book is really an object lesson on the constitutive role of space in human societies, and the impact that shifts in productive relations have on material and symbolic spatial formations–a very archaeological analysis! Plus, it has one of the best discussions of the film Blade Runner I’ve ever read, helping me to conjure the images from one of my favorite movies while thousands of miles from the nearest theatre..

Critical Traditions in Contemporary Archaeology Edited by Valerie Pinsky and Alison Wylie

This is a fairly obscure edited volume, but I found it at the right time in my archaeological career. I was struggling with a nascent political consciousness brought about by the election of George W. Bush, the 9/11 attacks, and the various anti-globalization movements that were becoming too massive to ignore. At the same time, I was finishing my archaeology degree at Boston University, and trying to figure out if what I was doing had any relevance beyond my own idiosyncratic interest. Essays in this volume, particularly Tilley’s piece on archaeology as a political project, made me realize that archaeology, no matter its subject, should always have something to say to the world of the archaeologist, not just reconstructing chronologies or evaluating theories. It was a real pivot for me and gave me the inspiration to go on to graduate school. There are also great chapters on V. Gordon Childe, Stonehenge, and New England “beehive” stonepiles.

The Dunwich Horror and Others by H.P. Lovecraft

I’ve loved the early 20th century pulp horror writer HP Lovecraft since finding his outrageously designed paperbacks on my parents bookshelf when I was younger. His prose is electrifying and his cosmology is genuinely terrifying, but what really stood out for me were his depictions of the New England landscape–space is almost a character itself in his stories. I was so entranced by his descriptions of rural New England that I made it my business to attend University there, and eventually write an archaeological PhD dissertation about the place. He has some questionable political and social views to say the least, but his understanding of the relationship between things, spaces, people, and time is worth chewing over. Plus, he still scares the crap out of me, and it’ll be good to have something else to be afraid of besides crushing alienation of being trapped on a desert island.

Europe and the People without History by Eric Wolf

This is the kind of “big” synthetic social-historical analysis that I’m constantly drawn to (see Graeber, below). Wolf’s magnum opus is so relentlessly inventive, deep, and broad that it’s hard to even pin down how important it was to me as a graduate student. The book recasts the history of the modern era of colonialism and capitalism through the lens of anthropology’s knowledge about the people impacted by that history. Wolf, being a central figure in anthropology in the 20th century, has an amazing breadth of knowledge to draw on–the book is worth the price alone for the bibliographic essays in the back. But most importantly, Wolf’s focus is often on the commodities that travelled with Europeans to and from their colonies, and he has long, very archaeological discussions on the fur trade, slavery, and mineral wealth extraction in South America. Plus, its global scale will give me a sense of my place on a tiny island in the vast oceans of the world. .

Capital: A critique of Political Economy (3 Vols) by Karl Marx

If I’m on a desert island, I’m going to need to find ways to kill lots of time, and slogging through Marx’s masterpiece is probably about as slow of a grind as one can have. Realistically though, every social scientist should read Capital, if only to understand its dialectical method of analysis. I’ve read volume 1 two or three times and am just starting to grasp how cleverly he makes all of his pieces fit together. Plus, the first chapter on commodities presents a very interesting theory of materiality, prefacing many of archaeological debates by 150 years, and still relevant for the discipline. And actually, it’s not as difficult as people often say it is–get through the first few chapters and it really starts to sing. Plus, Marx uses lots of Robinson Crusoe anecdotes and metaphors, so there may actually be some practical information about surviving on a desert island.

The Country and the City by Raymond Williams

I grew up in Iowa, and have always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder about the way that rural life in the United States is discursively represented-either as a timeless, folksy, “authentic” place, or as a land of ignorant bumpkins. Raymond Williams gave me the language to think about that discourse as part of a broader tension in modernity, what he would elsewhere call a “structure of feeling”. Williams used English literature to chart how people have understood themselves and others along a continuum of urban and rural life over the last 500 years. Along the way, he closely read pastoral poetry, Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Arthur Conan Doyle, and many other famous and not so famous names, looking for insights into how urban and rural life can be understood as constitutive, dialectical social locations within capitalism.. Archaeologists have a long history of thinking about urbanization, peasant life, core periphery relations, and numerous other topics about which Williams has profound insights. His opening chapter, using the metaphor of an escalator to seek out a literary golden age, is one of the funniest, most brilliant, and most well-written scholarly text I’ve had the pleasure of encountering.

Subculture: The Meaning of Style by Dick Hebdige

I read “Subculture…” right as I transitioned to graduate school. I had become comfortable with the idea of objects having meanings beyond their functional attributes, but Hebdige went further, arguing that the recontextualization of material things was in itself a form of social production. And, he located that act of recontextualization within the confines of the emergence of Punk rock in England and the economic and social upheavals of the 1970s. Safety pins and torn clothes became materially loaded objects, and points of contention and conflict within a social field. This will be a good reminder of the multiple uses to which the stuff on a desert island (coconuts, driftwood, twine, etc…) can be put, if properly reconfigured.

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber

The most recent book on this list, but no less important. Graeber rewrites the history of civilization (the title is not even a little bit overstating it’s reach) to locate the role of debt in the constitution of state societies. Along the way, he makes important and interesting commentaries on archaeological mainstays such as the Rosetta stone, reconfigures the great religions of the world as competing debt ontologies, and reminds us that we are all part of a long series of social processes that transcend our immediate (or even immediately historical) experiences. It’s already found its way into my publications, and I know I’m going to rejigger my Ancient Civilizations course around its insights.

Reassembling the Social: An introduction to Actor-Network Theory by Bruno Latour

I haven’t read this yet, so it gets an honorable mention at number 11, but I want to wrestle with it as the newest generation of archaeological theorists seem to keep singing Latour’s praises. I’m more skeptical about his analysis, particularly his possibly problematic (nonexistent?) politics. Additionally, I don’t feel like I’ve ever had the problem (subject-object duality) that his boosters say this work solves. Still, it’ll be good to have someone to wrestle with as I wait for rescue.

Otis Gilbert

1. I, Claudius (Robert Graves)
I, Claudius (and it’s sequel) are easily the best way to understand the early empire. By presenting the Julio-Claudian dynasty of the early Roman empire by presenting the key players as real people, rather than simply a series of emotion less actions, biographies and laws. Adding a bit of speculation, which gives the book it’s great range of background characters. This set me firmly on the path to the classical world. In essence a novel to enjoy lounging in the luxuriant sun.

2. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Edward Gibbon)
Again this is not strictly archaeological, but it’s an amazing study given it’s publication date (1788). Ultimately the study of the late empire would be made a lot harder without it, and I personally believe more modern ideas of late antiquity would simply not occur to anyone without earlier, more unilateral Gibbon’s ideas, to oppose. I suppose my opinion of Rome was formed from the ideas of Gibbon, who set it out in all it’s glory and realised what a truly universal set back for civilisation it’s decline and fall was. In essence a reason to strive to improve my conditions in this exile of mine.

3. Men from the Ministry (Simon Thurley)
A really interesting study of the preservation of heritage in England, and the creation of what we now know as English Heritage. Most archaeologists focus entirely on heritage, sites and artefacts. When we try to try the history of the heritage profession either the focus is on the most noteworthy theoretical academics, or a very niche interest. Men from the Ministry instead tells us about the people in the shadows, and reminds me that in order to study heritage we must be careful to preserve the matter of our study, and that even away from the field anyone can make a sigificant difference to the preservation of historical sites. A good motivation to catalogue sites on the island, and get that first publication (even if I have to write it into the bedrock).

4. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice (Renfrew and Bahn)
The timeless reference book for archaeological methodology, Refrew and Bahn created this resource to show the sheer range there is to archaeology, and it seems to be the perfect handbook to understand the unknown archaeology of my little island, even useful ideas for research questions.

5. Any good archaeological atlas
Because maps are just great, aren’t they? In order to understand archaeology I always think a good knowledge of geography, and territorial control. Although all the facts may already published, a map can give you a better idea of any area, be it the biggest empire or the smallest site. Also if times get rough I could always remember things could be worse, I could be on a less equatorial island.

Otis Roger Gilbert
Level 2 Classical and Historical Archaeology student at the University of Sheffield
Student’s Union Archaeology Councillor, Arcsoc Academic Officer (and course rep) and committed Classical archaeologist

Shawn Graham

Damn steamer trunks. Can’t lift it. All these archaeology books! What those dolphins must be eating, I ask you!

Let’s see. Ah. Here we go. Goodness: the exact ten books I would want to be reading. First up: Ray Laurence, Roman Pompeii: Space and Society, 1994. This was the book that convinced me to go to grad school – we had a whole seminar built on it in my final year, back in ’96. It was unlike anything else I was reading as an undergraduate, and showed me that there were ways of looking at something as well-trod as Pompeii that were completely askew of what I’d come to expect. The geek in me loved the space-syntax, the way of reading street life. Hell, it was fun!

Next,Stephen Shennan, Genes, Memes and Human History – Darwinian Archaeology and Cultural Evolution (2002). By the time I came across this, I was getting very much into complex systems and simulation, and this was something that helped me make sense of what I was doing. And it’s a fun read. Oh look, here’s Amanda Claridge’s Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide‘ (1998). I hear Amanda’s dry wit every time I open this thing. This was my constant companion on my first trip to Rome. I can’t imagine going there without it.

If I ever get off this island.

What else, what else… It’s interesting how nostalgic I am about these items. Each one seems tied to a particular chapter of my life. Matthew Johnson’s ‘Archaeological Theory‘ (1999) still makes me laugh and provides guidance through the thorny thickets of theory. Sybille Haynes’ ‘Etruscan Civilization‘ is a treat for sore eyes, filled with the beauty and magic of that people. I expect it can also be used for self-defence, in case of wild animal attack on this island. I used it for the first class I ever taught, at the school of continuing education at Reading.

Harry Evans, ‘Water Distribution in Ancient Rome‘ (1997) reminds me of adventures through the Roman countryside on a dangerously lunatic vespa, trying to identify the standing ruins, with A. Trevor Hodge’s ‘Roman Aqueducts and Water Supply (1992) in the other hand. Hodge’s book was as a bible for me writing my MA; I had the opportunity to meet Hodge at Carleton University shortly after I started working there. Sadly, a trivial over-long meeting prevented that from happening. Hodge died later that week. I will regret that always.

Back to Ray Laurence. The man has had a profound impact on me as a scholar. His ‘Roads of Roman Italy: Mobility and Cultural Change‘ (1999) and all that space-economy stuff: fantastic! Totally connected with the ORBIS simulation of the Roman world by Meeks and Scheidel, by the way, in terms of how it changes our perspective on the Roman world (ORBIS isn’t a book, but maybe there’s a tablet in this steamer trunk somewhere?) In the intro to Roads of Roman Italy, Laurence mentions my name, which was the first time I’d seen my name in print, in an academic context. A real thrill! No less of a thrill than how I came to be mentioned in the first place: driving the British School at Rome’s death-trap ducato for Ray as we explored the remains of the Roman roads in the outskirts of town. If there is no tablet in this steamer trunk (with wifi provided by an unseen Google blimp, obviously), I think the ‘Baths of Caracalla‘ by Janet DeLaine (1997) might be buried down here somewhere… ah, here it is. When I first pitched my MA idea to Janet, she kept finishing my sentences. I wanted to do a quanity survey of the Roman aqueducts. Turned out, she was waaaaay ahead of me. She let me use the manuscript to this as I puttered away on the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. It’s actually quite a fun read, especially when you start thinking about nuts-and-bolts type questions like, how the hell did they build this damned thing anyway?

Final book? It’s not archaeological, but it’s a good read. Complexity: A Guided Tour‘ by Melanie Mitchell, 2011. I’m quite into simulation and games, and the emergent behaviours of both ai and humans when they conspire together to create (ancient) history (as distinct from the past). That’s a whole lot of interdisciplinariness, so this volume by Mitchell always provides clarity and illumination.

So… that’s what I’ve found in this steamer trunk. The bibliographic biography of a digital archaeologist. Neat!

Dr. Shawn Graham, RPA
Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities
Department of History, Carleton University