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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Recommended Reading.
by Norman Cook.

It is an odd fact that most of us who are interested in archaeology know far more about Prehistory and the Roman periods than we do of the things made and used by men at a later date. Since archaeology is a study of man based on artefacts rather than written records, an acquaintance with objects of all periods is both desirable and necessary. Objects found in the upper levels of excavations are worthy of study and can add considerably to our knowledge of the history of man.

There are three books which would be a most valuable source of information on such material. The first is the London Museum Mediaeval Catalogue, first published in 1954 and re-issued by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in 1967, price 63 shillings, It is a frightening thought that in 1954 I paid 10 shillings and 6 pence for my new copy! This book still remains the only good source of illustrations and descriptions of a vast range of small finds of the Middle Ages -- weapons, horse furniture, domestic objects, pottery, pilgrim badges, small articles of brass, etc., and I suppose that we in Guildhall Museum refer to it almost every day.

For the post-mediaeval period A Guide to Artefacts of Colonial America, by Ivor Noel Hume, published by A Knopf of New York, price 10 dollars, is a new and most useful source of information. Since so much of the material culture of the North American Colonies was imparted from this country, the objects which were thrown away in the trash pits of the early settlers have a very close connection which we find in the early 17th century rubbish pits of this country.

The third book is one which we came across as a remainder on several bookstalls in the London area, price 36 shillings It is the Connoisseur's Complete Period Guides, published by The Connoisseur in 1968, price 4 and 4 shillings. It is a guide to "the Houses, Decoration, Furnishing & Chattels of the Classic Periods" from the Tudor to the Early Victorian periods. I can thoroughly recommend this as a bargain which will help to develop an appreciation and knowledge of period styles, so essential to all Antiquaries.

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