Quick Review (read on for the full review)
A fascinating, engaging book, and a treasure to read. Highly recommended! 5 / 5
Summary (from Goodreads)
For Professor and Channel 4 personality Mick Aston, landscape archaeology remains his first love, because it provides so much information about how ordinary communities lived in the past. Environmental archaeology, experimental archaeology, the archaeology of buildings, and his great project at the village of Shapwick in Somerset are just some of the other subjects brought excitingly to life in Mick’s colourful and action-packed pages. Reading this book, it is easy to share the author’s basic conviction that “Archaeology is fun.”
I found it very hard to choose just the one, but in the end I went with this from the chapter “Monasteries”:
All of these monasteries were of course dissolved and most demolished, and their inhabitants pensioned off and dispersed in the decade 1530-40, in an act of privatisation (and vandalism) that makes Margaret Thatcher’s government look like a bunch of bungling amateurs.
I have flicked through this book many times (a habit I have with non-fiction books where I read random chapters that grab my interest), but this is the first time I have read it from cover-to-cover.
I loved this book. It was a fascinating, engaging read. Professor Mick Aston’s love for archaeology was infectious, and helped to inspire at least one generation’s interest in the subject. He’s a much missed character.
Full of photographs and anecdotes, as well as information on different aspects of archaeology, this was a treasure to read, and I hated having to put it down. Having watched Professor Mick Aston on TV since I was a teenager, reading this book was almost like listening to an audiobook – something I don’t think I’ve experienced before. Wonderful!
The chapters covered a variety of topics, from the author’s early years in archaeology to his favourite subjects – buildings, monasteries and medieval settlements. The final chapter on “Favourite Books and Recommended Reading” was a delight to peruse – who doesn’t like book lists? – and I’ve found a number of interesting titles to add to my reading list.
What I found most endearing is that for a book written to document his own love of the subject and career in it, he is quick to mention other people, be they colleagues, friends and students. It’s not all about him, but what they achieved together.
If you enjoyed / enjoy watching Time Team, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you. I am certain this is a book I will return to read, cover-to-cover, again and again.