100 books like Tracing Archaeology's Past

By Andrew L. Christenson (editor),

Here are 100 books that Tracing Archaeology's Past fans have personally recommended if you like Tracing Archaeology's Past. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A History of Archaeological Thought

Tim Murray Author Of From Antiquarian to Archaeologist: The History and Philosophy of Archaeology

From my list on the history and philosophy of archaeology.

Who am I?

Tim Murray has been a leading exponent of the history and philosophy of archaeology for the past thirty years. He has used the history of the discipline to explore the nature of archaeological theory and the many complex intersections between archaeology and society. Of his many publications flowing from this general project, the award-winning global scale five-volume Encyclopedia of Archaeology, the single volume global history of Archaeology Milestones in Archaeology. Murray is a global leader in applying studies in the history of archaeology to the reform of archaeological theory. This is evidenced by the publication of a collection of his essays, From Antiquarian to Archaeologist, and his numerous academic papers on the subject.

Tim's book list on the history and philosophy of archaeology

Tim Murray Why did Tim love this book?

In its original edition, Bruce Trigger's book was the first ever to examine the history of archaeological thought from medieval times to the present in worldwide perspective.

Now, in this new edition, he both updates the original work and introduces new archaeological perspectives and concerns. At once stimulating and even-handed, it places the development of archaeological thought and theory throughout within a broad social and intellectual framework.

The successive but interacting trends apparent in archaeological thought are defined and the author seeks to determine the extent to which these trends were a reflection of the personal and collective interests of archaeologists as these relate - in the West at least - to the fluctuating fortunes of the middle classes.

While subjective influences have been powerful, Professor Trigger argues that the gradual accumulation of archaeological data has exercised a growing constraint on interpretation.

In turn, this has increased the objectivity of…

By Bruce G. Trigger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A History of Archaeological Thought as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In its original edition, Bruce Trigger's book was the first ever to examine the history of archaeological thought from medieval times to the present in world-wide perspective. Now, in this new edition, he both updates the original work and introduces new archaeological perspectives and concerns. At once stimulating and even-handed, it places the development of archaeological thought and theory throughout within a broad social and intellectual framework. The successive but interacting trends apparent in archaeological thought are defined and the author seeks to determine the extent to which these trends were a reflection of the personal and collective interests of…


Book cover of Hidden Scholars: Women Anthropologists and the Native American Southwest

Alice Beck Kehoe Author Of Girl Archaeologist: Sisterhood in a Sexist Profession

From my list on revealing the history of archaeology.

Who am I?

Observant of the world around me, and intellectual, I discovered my ideal way of life at age 16 when I read Kroeber's massive textbook Anthropology, 1948 edition. Anthropologists study everything human, everywhere and all time. Archaeology particularly appealed to me because it is outdoors, physical, plus its data are only the residue of human activities, challenging us to figure out what those people, that place and time, did and maybe thought. As a woman from before the Civil Rights Act, a career was discouraged; instead, I did fieldwork with my husband, and on my own, worked with First Nations communities on ethnohistorical research. Maverick, uppity, unstoppable, like in these books.

Alice's book list on revealing the history of archaeology

Alice Beck Kehoe Why did Alice love this book?

Out of the feminist movement in American archaeology came this thick testament to the number and importance of women archaeologists and ethnographers who worked in the American Southwest before the U.S. Civil Rights Act made discrimination illegal. As a woman who had been ignored and even brutally put down by men archaeologists, reading of these hardworking, persistent, and some of them brilliant women thrilled me. Over and above the revelations of great researchers who often collaborated with First Nations people, the book is a treasure of stories about pioneer conditions in the Southwest, discoveries of famous ruins, and early anthropologists breaking through into native communities.  

By Nancy J. Parezo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hidden Scholars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Women scholars, writers, curators, and philanthropists have played important roles in the study of Native American cultures of the Southwest. For much of the twentieth century, however, their work has been overlooked. The essays in this book, which grew out of the landmark conference known as Daughters of the Desert, help to rectify the appropriation, erasure, disparagement, and invisibility that many women anthropologists have suffered.
A number of essays are biographical or intellectual histories, such as Parezo on Matilda Coxe Stevenson, Hieb on Elsie Clews Parsons, Babcock on Ruth Benedict, Lamphere on Gladys Reichard, and Lange on Esther Goldfrank. Others…


Book cover of A Laboratory for Anthropology: Science and Romanticism in the American Southwest, 1846-1930

Alice Beck Kehoe Author Of Girl Archaeologist: Sisterhood in a Sexist Profession

From my list on revealing the history of archaeology.

Who am I?

Observant of the world around me, and intellectual, I discovered my ideal way of life at age 16 when I read Kroeber's massive textbook Anthropology, 1948 edition. Anthropologists study everything human, everywhere and all time. Archaeology particularly appealed to me because it is outdoors, physical, plus its data are only the residue of human activities, challenging us to figure out what those people, that place and time, did and maybe thought. As a woman from before the Civil Rights Act, a career was discouraged; instead, I did fieldwork with my husband, and on my own, worked with First Nations communities on ethnohistorical research. Maverick, uppity, unstoppable, like in these books.

Alice's book list on revealing the history of archaeology

Alice Beck Kehoe Why did Alice love this book?

Read this book along with the other handsomely published book, Hidden Scholars, and we have a pair that opens up the idealized Southwest and the ideology of White Supremacy behind it. Schemes and sufferings, deals and derring-do abounded in the territory that now boasts our U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Laguna Pueblo citizen Deb Haaland. Don Fowler and his wife Catherine Fowler are themselves archaeologists/ethnographers in the Southwest borderland, my longtime good friends and colleagues, with an eye for arresting details and a story-telling style that make this book a gripping account of how the Romantic Ruins and fascinating Pueblos were created out in America's desert.

By Don D. Fowler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Laboratory for Anthropology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Initially published in 2000, this beautiful paperback reprint of respected archaeologist Don Fowler's A Laboratory for Anthropology tells the sweeping history tells of an idea, "The Southwest," through the development of American anthropology and archaeology.

For eighty years following the end of the Mexican-American War, anthropologists described the people, culture, and land of the American Southwest to cultural tastemakers and consumers on the East Coast. Digging deeply into public and private historical records, the author uses biographical vignettes to recreate the men and women who pioneered American anthropology and archaeology in the Southwest. He explores institutions such as the Smithsonian,…


Book cover of Knossos & the Prophets of Modernism

Alice Beck Kehoe Author Of Girl Archaeologist: Sisterhood in a Sexist Profession

From my list on revealing the history of archaeology.

Who am I?

Observant of the world around me, and intellectual, I discovered my ideal way of life at age 16 when I read Kroeber's massive textbook Anthropology, 1948 edition. Anthropologists study everything human, everywhere and all time. Archaeology particularly appealed to me because it is outdoors, physical, plus its data are only the residue of human activities, challenging us to figure out what those people, that place and time, did and maybe thought. As a woman from before the Civil Rights Act, a career was discouraged; instead, I did fieldwork with my husband, and on my own, worked with First Nations communities on ethnohistorical research. Maverick, uppity, unstoppable, like in these books.

Alice's book list on revealing the history of archaeology

Alice Beck Kehoe Why did Alice love this book?

Palace of King Minos at Knossos on Crete seized the imaginations of scores of modernist writers, artists, psychoanalysts, and philosophers as wealthy English archaeologist Arthur Evans had its ruins disinterred and reconstructed with reinforced concrete, a novel building material in the early twentieth century. Evans' imaginative palace complex is today mobbed by tourists (I recommend going off-season in January, as I did) who revere the Aegean as the birthplace of Civilization. Gere ties it in to Modernist projects rejecting Victorian overstuffed ornamentations in favor of supposed ancient purity. Her fascinating documentation of culture leaders from Freud to Le Corbusier buying into Evans' myth of an idealized past embeds archaeology in arts and humanities fashions that still confuse speculation with history.

By Cathy Gere,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Knossos & the Prophets of Modernism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1900, British archaeologist Arthur Evans began to excavate the palace of Knossos on Crete, bringing ancient Greek legends to life just as a new century dawned amid far-reaching questions about human history, art, and culture. With Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism, Cathy Gere relates the fascinating story of Evans' excavation and its long-term effects on Western culture. After World War I left the Enlightenment dream in tatters, the lost paradise that Evans offered in the concrete labyrinth - pacifist and matriarchal, pagan and cosmic - seemed to offer a new way forward for writers, artists,…


Book cover of A History of American Archaeology

Tim Murray Author Of From Antiquarian to Archaeologist: The History and Philosophy of Archaeology

From my list on the history and philosophy of archaeology.

Who am I?

Tim Murray has been a leading exponent of the history and philosophy of archaeology for the past thirty years. He has used the history of the discipline to explore the nature of archaeological theory and the many complex intersections between archaeology and society. Of his many publications flowing from this general project, the award-winning global scale five-volume Encyclopedia of Archaeology, the single volume global history of Archaeology Milestones in Archaeology. Murray is a global leader in applying studies in the history of archaeology to the reform of archaeological theory. This is evidenced by the publication of a collection of his essays, From Antiquarian to Archaeologist, and his numerous academic papers on the subject.

Tim's book list on the history and philosophy of archaeology

Tim Murray Why did Tim love this book?

The first (and still most influential) history of archaeology in the Americas.

Willey and Sabloff wrote at a time of great ferment in the theory and practice of archaeology where old certainties were beginning to give way to radically new ways of creating and understanding archaeological knowledge. This book was particularly influential in helping archaeologists find their ways through a new intellectual landscape.

By Gordon R. Willey, Jeremy A. Sabloff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A History of American Archaeology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Willey, Gordon R., Sabloff, Jeremy A.


Book cover of A Pueblo Social History: Kinship, Sodality, and Community in the Northern Southwest

Brian D. Hayden Author Of The Power of Ritual in Prehistory: Secret Societies and Origins of Social Complexity

From my list on secret societies in traditional cultures.

Who am I?

I first became intrigued by secret societies when a student who I worked with suggested that the French Upper Paleolithic painted caves might have been decorated and used by secret societies. I subsequently enlisted another student to study the spatial use of the paintings from this perspective. Combined with the observations of Robert Hare on the motivations of psychopaths and sociopaths to control others, I realized that secret societies plausibly constituted powerful forces promoting certain cultural changes that appeared later and continued into our own modern societies. I found the prospects for understanding our own cultures fascinating and wanted to document how this all came about in my own book.

Brian's book list on secret societies in traditional cultures

Brian D. Hayden Why did Brian love this book?

This is a bit more of a technical archaeology book dealing with the ethnographic and archaeological Pueblo communities of the American Southwest. For those interested in secret societies, it deals extensively with the nature of Pueblo ritual organizations (sodalities) and deftly provides critiques of views that these were egalitarian communities and ritual organizations. In fact, he argues that some were among the most non-egalitarian societies in North America, beginning with the Chacoan culture about 1,000 years ago. Puebloan ritual organizations are prime examples of secret societies.

By John A. Ware,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Pueblo Social History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In A Pueblo Social History, John Ware challenges modern anthropologists to break down the walls between archaeology and ethnography in order to obtain a more complete understanding of Pueblo prehistory in the American Southwest. This book stands or falls on two arguments. The first is Pueblo ethnographies by early scholars - including Cushing, Bandelier, and Fewkes who were simultaneously ethnographers and archaeologists and therefore incorporated origin stories, migration narratives, and other oral traditions along with lines of evidence such as artifacts and architecture - are more than speculative analogies. Pueblo ethnographies are end points on trajectories that preserve important information…


Book cover of Mimbres Lives and Landscapes

Stephen H. Lekson Author Of A History of the Ancient Southwest

From my list on southwestern archaeology.

Who am I?

I was Curator of Archaeology at the Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado, Boulder; recently retired.  Before landing at the University of Colorado, I held research, curatorial, or administrative positions with the University of Tennessee, Eastern New Mexico University, National Park Service Chaco Project, Arizona State Museum, Museum of New Mexico, and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.  Over four decades, I directed more than 20 archaeological projects throughout the Southwest. I wrote a dozen books, chapters in many edited volumes, and scores of articles in journals and magazines. While many of these were technical treatises, I also tried to write scholarly books accessible to normal intelligent readers.  

Stephen's book list on southwestern archaeology

Stephen H. Lekson Why did Stephen love this book?

My archaeological career began in 1971 in the Mimbres region of Southwestern New Mexico. I continued to work in the area, on and off, until 2013. Along the way, I wrote four books and many chapters/articles about Mimbres, and I formed some strong opinions on ancient Mimbres history.

Centered in the Mimbres River valley, the Mimbres built about twenty sizable stone villages at the same time as Chaco Canyon, from 1000 to 1125. Their towns were notably large for the time, fueled by sophisticated canal irrigation (probably adopted from the Hohokam, see above). But Mimbres is most famous for its remarkable black-on-white pottery: artfully-painted bowl interiors show bugs, fish, antelopes, birds, and people – people doing things, tableaus of daily life, esoteric rituals, mythical events. These images appeal strongly to us, today. In ancient times, however, Mimbres bowls and Mimbres art seems to have been limited to the Mimbres region…

By Margaret C. Nelson (editor), Michelle Hegmon (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mimbres Lives and Landscapes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

People have called the mountains, rolling hills, wide valleys, and broad desert plains of southwestern New Mexico home for at least ten thousand years. When they began to farm a little over two thousand years ago, they settled near the rich soils in the river floodplains. Then, around 900, the people of this region burned all of their kivas and started gathering in large villages with small ritual spaces and open plazas. Between 900 and about 1100, they also made the intricately painted geometric and figurative bowls today called Mimbres, their best-known legacy. Then, in the 1130s, they stopped making…


Book cover of The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen

Jay Penner Author Of Regent Cleopatra

From my list on Cleopatra and ancient Egypt.

Who am I?

The genre I specialize in is Ancient Historical Fiction. I have always been fascinated by history, and my vacations often involve visiting ancient ruins. I’m an avid reader on various periods of our past, especially Egypt, Rome, Mesopotamia, and India, and I enjoy writing about them. On the topic of Egypt and Cleopatra — Egypt is one of my favorite civilizations, and Cleopatra is one of the more interesting figures. I wanted to give her a treatment I felt she deserved—as a capable administrator, brilliant, ruthless, and fighting the circumstances of her times.

Jay's book list on Cleopatra and ancient Egypt

Jay Penner Why did Jay love this book?

Who has not heard of King Tut? Written by the discoverer of the tomb, the book is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of an accomplished archeologist and a window to the fabulous riches of Egypt. Reading firsthand about what they saw and how things were placed gives us an insight into how things may have been in the last few hours of sealing the tomb. I often use such content to fuel my imagination of what might have happened.

By A.C. Mace, Howard Carter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

November 4, 1922. For six seasons the legendary Valley of the Kings has yielded no secrets to Howard Carter and his archeological team: "We had almost made up our minds that we were beaten," he writes, "and were preparing to leave The Valley and try our luck elsewhere; and then — hardly had we set hoe to ground in our last despairing effort than we made a discovery that far exceeded our wildest dreams."
Join Howard Carter in his fascinating odyssey toward the most dramatic archeological find of the century — the tomb of Tutankhamen. Written by Carter in 1923,…


Book cover of Spooky Archaeology: Myth and the Science of the Past

Kenneth L. Feder Author Of Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology

From my list on frauds, myths, and claims about human antiquity.

Who am I?

My fascination with the ancient past began when I was four years old and wanted to be a dinosaur, specifically a Tyrannosaurus rex. When it became clear that this option was not open to me, I decided instead to become an archaeologist. Archaeologists don’t study dinosaurs, but instead investigate human antiquity. When I began my 40+ years of teaching archaeology, I asked students what topics they wanted covered in class. Invariably they expressed an interest in things like ancient astronauts, Atlantis, Stonehenge, and pyramids. This led me to a career-long study of strange claims about the human past, it provided the raw material for multiple books on the subject.

Kenneth's book list on frauds, myths, and claims about human antiquity

Kenneth L. Feder Why did Kenneth love this book?

Peeling back the stratigraphic layers of archaeology’s history, self-described “weirdshitologist,” archaeologist Jeb Card, reveals the discipline’s very “spooky” foundations in this riveting book. These foundations included a belief in a mythic time that preceded our modern world which has left behind its spoor in the form of eerie and phantasmagorical archaeological sites imbued with evil spirits, elves, pixies, djinn, elementals, and other paranormal entities. Card discusses haunted landscapes, bloodthirsty Druids, cursed mummies, and Lovecraftian “Old Ones” in his romp through all that is weird, strange, and, indeed, spooky in archaeology. Finally, Card shows that archaeology as presented on cable TV, YouTube videos, blogs, and social media is still haunted by the specter of Victorian Age beliefs about humanity’s presumably spooky past.

By Jeb J. Card,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spooky Archaeology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Outside of scientific journals, archaeologists are depicted as searching for lost cities and mystical artifacts in news reports, television, video games, and movies like Indiana Jones or The Mummy. This fantastical image has little to do with day-to-day science, yet it is deeply connected to why people are fascinated by the ancient past. By exploring the development of archaeology, this book helps us understand what archaeology is and why it matters.

In Spooky Archaeology author Jeb J. Card follows a trail of clues left by adventurers and professional archaeologists that guides the reader through haunted museums, mysterious hieroglyphic inscriptions, fragments…


Book cover of Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society

Ilan Pappé Author Of Ten Myths About Israel

From my list on understanding modern Palestine.

Who am I?

Ilan Pappé is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter. He was formerly a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of PalestineThe Modern Middle EastA History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Ilan's book list on understanding modern Palestine

Ilan Pappé Why did Ilan love this book?

The Israeli narrative is particularly strong among Christain and Jewish communities due to a tale full of fabrications that stretches back to ancient times. This methodical and erudite research exposes the role of archeology in providing "scientific" scaffolding for that tale. 


By Nadia Abu El-Haj,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Facts on the Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Archaeology in Israel is truly a national obsession, a practice through which national identity-and national rights-have long been asserted. But how and why did archaeology emerge as such a pervasive force there? How can the practices of archaeology help answer those questions? In this stirring book, Nadia Abu El-Haj addresses these questions and specifies for the first time the relationship between national ideology, colonial settlement, and the production of historical knowledge. She analyzes particular instances of history, artifacts, and landscapes in the making to show how archaeology helped not only to legitimize cultural and political visions but, far more powerfully,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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