Friday, 28 August 2009

The Tides of Time: Archaeology on the Northumbrian Coast by Caroline Hardy and Sarah Rushton

The trouble with ordering books from the library is you don’t always know what you are getting. I had hoped for a good solid book on coastal archaeology, but what I got was a hybrid funded by the Countryside Agency and published by Northumberland County Council that isn’t really quite sure what its audience is. The large format and glossy pictures suggest a coffee table book for tourists, while the blurb on the back cover promises that: "If you have an interest in the past, this book will supply all you need to develop that interest through visiting archaeological remains and perhaps even finding new sites for yourself!" (Therein lies the problem, I think: the County Council couldn’t simply produce something to read, it has to fulfill a need.)

The book is organised chronologically and thematically (resources, defences), starting with prehistoric remains, but at 96 pages, there’s not room to cover much more than the obvious landmarks, while “Finding new sites for yourself” is dealt with in less than half a page. The photographs are attractive and alongside the site descriptions are useful notes on access, while for each section there is a good “pull-out block” with a list of further reading. It is this last, with the aid of the library catalogue, which might provide me with some serious reading on local archaeology, so for that, at least, I owe it some thanks. At the reasonable price of £8.99, though, this is a nice book for visitors to take home


Table Talk said...

So, not a book for my Little Bear who wants to grow up to be a Bear who is an Archeologist, then?

GeraniumCat said...

I think he'd find it a bit disppointing - it's more suited to Bears of Very Little Brain, and that clearly doesn't apply!