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Greek Archaeology: A Thematic Approach

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Greek Archaeology: A Thematic Approach
By Christopher Mee. (Wiley-Blackwell: A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication: 2011. Pg. xli, 330. Maps, Illustrations, Tables.) ISBN: 978-1-4051-6733-8.

Reviewed by Herbert White - April 21, 2011

Greek Archaeology: A Thematic Approach offers a concise, yet remarkably detailed overview of the current status of both classical Greek and Aegean (prehistoric/bronze age) archaeology. While these two fields are normally treated separately, the author, Christopher Mee who teaches both fields, covers both periods in this text and rightly so. To study one field, in isolation from the other, deprives the student from understanding the development of Greek history and civilization, from its inception. As such, Greek Archaeology: A Thematic Approach is a synthesis of these two interrelated fields based upon survey archaeology, and it will prove a boon to students in both disciplines.

As the title suggests, the information in this text is organized thematically, covering such diverse topics as Settlement and Settlements, the Architecture of Power, Residential Space, the Countryside, Technology and Production (namely pottery and metallurgy), Trade and Colonization, Warfare, Death and Burial, and Religion. The main sections of the text are organized thematically and within each category the information is presented chronologically.

Mee is Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool, and the author of several books on Greek archaeology. In addition to providing an archaeological overview of the periods covers, he also provides any background information that might be need by those new to this field, to understand the information that is under discussion. This makes this volume suitable not only for specialized courses in Greek Archaeology, but also for introductory courses in archaeology or Greek history. As well, he provides historical information that helps to put the archaeological evidence into context with our current knowledge of Greek history and civilization.

The text is well-illustrated with relevant figures that include sketches of current archeological sites, illustrations of material culture items, and drawings of reconstructed representations. The author has included a number of practical maps that will help you to locate the various sites and cities mentioned in the text. The text has been further enhanced by the inclusion of a time-line, a glossary of terms, and a comprehensive and up-to-date list of references that can easily be used a bibliography on the subject, or as a further reading list.

Greek Archaeology: A Thematic Approach is an excellent addition to the body of knowledge on Greek archaeology. Most important to those reading the text, Mee's writing is engaging. His explanations are clear, and eminently accessible for both students and scholars alike. In short, Greek Archaeology: A Thematic Approach is an edifying and satisfying book that is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Greek history or archaeology, of any period.

Related Reviews:

Great Moments in Greek Archaeology, by Vasileios Petrakos, et al.
This groundbreaking book is lavishly illustrated with 658 Color illustrations, and includes 25 essays that provide a detailed overview of the discovery and excavations of some of the greatest monuments, shipwrecks, and sculptures from Ancient Greece.

The Mycenaeans, by Louise Schofield.
A fascinating overview of Mycenaean culture and history from their rise, until their fall. Also covers their rediscovery, in 1876, by Heinrich Schliemann.

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