Thursday, 19 January 2012

Book review: The Archaeology of Greece, An Introduction

The Archaeology of Greece: An IntroductionThe Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction by William R. Biers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I recently reread this old university textbook of mine in preparation for an assignment in Greece. Biers was one of my professors and his book was assigned for the class.

This well-illustrated book is a clear, general introduction to the topic. No single volume could ever hope to give such a broad subject full justice, but this does give the reader a good handle on the basics. Biers skips lightly over the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic and gets straight down to business with the Minoans. The book continues through the highlights of Greek archaeology down to the Roman period, which is only briefly discussed. Late Antique, Byzantine, and later periods are not covered.

I have only two objections to this book. Neither are major and both may have been solved with the publication of a second edition in 1996. I read the first edition so take these criticisms in that light. I found many of the citations to be rather old. Most dated to the 1970s or sometimes much earlier. Also, some of the photos, especially those of Athens taken by Biers himself, do not show the sights or the city as they appear today. As I said, the second edition may have solved these problems and brought the book more up to date.

In all, this is an easy-to-read introduction to ancient Greek art and archaeology. It's large number of photographs, some in color, the clear prose keep it from ever becoming dry.

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