Book Reviews

Urban Archaeology and Foodways in South Carolina: Review of Charleston: An Archaeology of Life in a Coastal Community by Martha A. Zierden and Elizabeth J. Reitz, 2016.

Interwoven throughout the book are not only discussions of cattle size, butchery patterns, dinner party menus, and unusual archaeological finds like deer antlers, parrot bones, and horn cores, but also a narrative of how archaeologists and historic preservationists contributed to and benefited from Charleston’s renaissance in the twentieth century.

Giant Sloths and Sabertooth Cats: Extinct Mammals and the Archaeology of the Ice Age Great Basin by Donald K. Grayson, 2016.

Despite the title, this is more a paleontology book than an archaeology one, although Grayson does thoroughly examine all the archaeological evidence for direct interactions between ancient humans and the extinct large mammals, or megafauna, of the Great Basin (spoiler: there is none).

The Passenger Pigeon by Erroll Fuller, 2014.

Zooarchaeology & Field Ecology: A Photographic Atlas by Jack M. Broughton and Shawn D. Miller, 2016.

The book also includes bones from species that are rarely depicted in other guides, including a lamprey mouth and a hummingbird skull and sternum.

DNA for Archaeologists by Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith and K. Ann Horsburgh, 2012.

As modern DNA gets everywhere, molecular anthropologists “can often be identified by the smell of bleach, one of the favorite methods for destroying contaminating DNA.”

Modified Predator Mandible and Maxilla Artifacts and Predator Symbolism in Illinois Hopewell by  Kenneth B. Farnsworth, Terrance J. Martin, and Angela R. Perri, 2015.

Farnsworth, Martin, and Perri are cautious and precise with their identifications, show their work, and do not go beyond what the bones warrant.

Field Archaeologist’s Survival Guide: Getting a Job and Working in Cultural Resource Management, by Chris Webster, 2014.

the most important interview questions to ask are about per diem: how much is it, how is it paid out, and do you need to turn in receipts to be reimbursed?

Trends and Traditions in Southeastern Zooarchaeology by Tanya M. Peres (ed.), 2014.

it is unlikely anyone would doubt the human capacity to invest anything and everything (snakes, frogs, deer, birds, feet, feathers, heads, bones, shells, and more) with significance

Birds (Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology) by Dale Serjeantson, 2009.

 Gallus gallus, the chicken, receives its own chapter, and rightly so.

On Land and Sea: Native American Uses of Biological Resources in the West Indies by Lee A. Newsom and Elizabeth S. Wing, 2004.

Despite the limitations of the available data, Newsom and Wing are able to document both geographic distinctions in resource use among the islands and diachronic trends across the West Indies.

All reviews by T. Cregg Madrigal