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A Faith in Archaeological Science: Reflections on a Life
Author: Don Brothwell. vi+226 pages; illustrated in black and white throughout with 7 colour plates. 220 2016 Archaeological Lives . Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784913014. Epublication ISBN 9781784913021.
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This is the first memoir by an internationally known archaeological scientist, and one who has been particularly research active for over fifty years in the broad field of bioarchaeology. Written with humour and a critical concern to understand the nature of his life and that of our species. It provides a very readable and original account of a life embracing field and laboratory work from Orkney to Egypt and Mongolia to Peru. The diverse research extends from human fossils, to cemetery studies and bog bodies, to dogs, hair chemistry, bone pathology, soils and vitrification. He has similarly been concerned about the nature of culture, the impact of stress on individuals, and theoretical issues in archaeological science. He argues that we are advanced primates, and canít be divorced from a scientific and ethological perspective. Indeed, he sees culture as derived from a complex interwoven range of thought, from the usefully adaptive to the highly maladaptive creative thinking which can grade into destructive social pathology. Our limited ability to perceive accurately has resulted in the creation of a plethora of dubious beliefs, from religions to political elitism and fanaticism. Placed in the world of today, with the perspective of our long past, the author feels that it is difficult not to feel coldly sober and doubtful about the future of our species. But we are not extinct yet! Beginning life as a traumatised baby and school failure, Don retired as emeritus professor of archaeological science in the University of York.



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