Forthcoming Titles

 Color cover image of volume by Dr. Sharri Clark showing various types of Indus figurines depicting both humans and animals.

The Social Lives of Figurines: Recontextualizing the Third Millennium BC Terracotta Figurines from Harappa (Pakistan)

Sharri R. Clark, Oxbow Books, 2012

After more than 80 years of research, the Indus Civilization (ca. 2600–1900 BC) remains largely enigmatic. In this geographically extensive civilization, which still has no known monumental art and undeciphered texts, the largest corpus of representational art at many Indus sites is terracotta figurines. The figurines are one of the richest sources of information regarding Indus ideology and society. Unfortunately, the figurines often have been considered selectively without evaluating their archaeological or socio-cultural contexts, resulting in biased interpretations that ignore the richness and diversity of the figurine corpus. Instead, they should be viewed as media of communication in their original social contexts rather than being viewed simply as naturalistic reflections. This research examines the figurines from the urban site of Harappa (ca. 3300–1700 BC) as reflections of the some of the underlying structures of Indus society and cultural change, focusing particularly on figurines from secure dated archaeological contexts. The figurines are viewed as artifacts whose “social lives” can be at least partially reconstructed through systematic analyses of stylistic and technological attributes and spatial and temporal contexts (usually fill or trash deposits). Comparisons with ethnographic data, historic texts, and contemporary ancient societies also inform these interpretations.

www.oxbowbooks.com


 Cover image of Ancient Irrigation Systems of the Aral Sea Area, edited by Mantellini. Light blue with a black and white photo of workers digging irrigation trench.

Ancient Irrigation Systems of the Aral Sea Area: The History, Origin, and Development of Irrigated Agriculture

Edited by Simone Mantellini, Oxbow Books, 2012

Ancient Irrigation Systems in the Aral Sea Area is the English translation of Boris Vasilevich Andrianov’s work, Drevnie orositelnye sistemy priaralya, concerning the study of ancient irrigation systems and the settlement pattern in the historical region of Khorezm, south of the Aral Sea (Uzbekistan). This work holds a special place within the Soviet archaeological school because of the results obtained through a multidisciplinary approach combining aerial survey, and fieldwork, surveys, and excavations. This translation has been enriched by the addition of introductions written by several eminent scholars from the region regarding the importance of the Khorezm Archaeological-Ethnographic Expedition and the figure of Boris V. Andrianov and his landmark study almost 50 years after the original publication.


 

 

 Cover image of volume by Anthony, Brown, et al. showing verdant field with flowers with fieldworkers.

The Samara Valley Project: A Bronze Age Landscape in the Russian Steppes

Edited by David Anthony, Dorcas Brown, Aleksandr Khokhlov, Pavel Kuznetsov, and Oleg Mochalov, 2013

Recent archaeological discoveries have upended old ideas about the evolution of Eurasian steppe pastoralism. After decades of widespread agreement, every detail in the agreed-upon story is now open to question. It is an exciting time to study the development of pastoral economies in the Eurasian steppes, but it also is a period of confusion, argument, and shifting theories. The Samara Valley Project is an archaeological project focused on understanding the pastoral landscape, economy, settlements, and seasonal rituals of Bronze Age people living in the center of the Eurasian steppes.


 Cover image for the volume by Gilbert B. Tostevin entitled, Seeing Lithics; cover is pale green with brown text; center image is of one eye peering at a white stone tool being held up by a hand.

Seeing Lithics: A Middle Range Theory for Testing for Cultural Transmission in the Pleistocene

Gilbert B. Tostevin, in press

There is substantial debate over the extent to which the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition and the dispersal of anatomically modern humans from Africa into Eurasia at the end of the Pleistocene were the result of the same process, related processes, or unrelated but coincident processes. The current debate shows a gap in archaeological method and theory for understanding how different cultural transmission processes create patterning in the material culture of foragers at the resolution of Paleolithic palimpsests. This research project attempts to bridge this gap with a middle-range theory connecting cultural transmission and dual inheritance theory with the archaeological study of flintknappers’ flake-by-flake choices in the production of lithic assemblages. The project thus combines a new middle-range theory as well as a new approach to characterizing Paleolithic assemblages for systematic comparison of units of analysis appropriate to distinguishing forces of change in cultural evolution.

 

 

 

 

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