Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads


#StevesLibrary: Buried

I know this hard to believe, but not everything I read or do is linked to herpetology. Something that has always fascinated me is the past, and how we’ve been able to learn more about the lives of ancient people. This of course is a field that is always changing as new technology helps us to unlock even more secrets about the dead, as it does for the living. Having just completed my PhD within the School of Anthropology and Conservation, I thought it was about time to focus more on the anthropology side of things. Therefore, it was only natural for me to read my copy of Buried by Alice Roberts. Renowned for her expertise in archaeology and anthropology, Roberts delivers a captivating narrative that delves into the diverse rituals and customs surrounding death, and more importantly how these have changed through time. The book masterfully combines scholarly research with accessible storytelling, making it the ideal exploration of the history of human burial practices within Great Britain, taking readers on an unforgettable journey through time.

Roberts adeptly sets the stage with an insightful introduction that explains the significance of burial practices in understanding human evolution and civilisation. She seamlessly navigates through various archaeological discoveries from around the world, each chapter unveiling a new layer of human history in Great Britain, and the changing burial practices that span a 1000 years of history, and the ideas that permeated through this timespan. Roberts’ eloquent prose paint vivid pictures of ancient burial sites, drawing readers into the realm of our ancestors’ beliefs, traditions, and values. There are also a number of personal stories and anecdotes, from projects or excavations Roberts has herself been involved with. Something that I didn’t appreciate until now was the fact that Roberts appeared on Time Team, the long-running archaeological TV show – something that I used to watch religiously when it was on the air. It makes perfect sense now though! This personal touch adds authenticity and a sense of intimacy to the storytelling, allowing readers to connect with the author on a deeper level. It is evident that Roberts’s passion for her subject matter fuels the book’s energy and curiosity.

Buried serves as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity. Roberts eloquently illustrates how despite our geographical and temporal differences, we share a fundamental human experience: grappling with the mystery of mortality. This theme of unity resonates deeply, making the book a profound and contemplative read. While there is certainly a vast amount of history contained within its pages, Buried also features a vast amount of science and information about techniques which combined with the storytelling, make it a captivating read. If you’re just as curious about the idea of death, mortality, and cultural exchange, then Buried is a book for you!

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