Book of the Year 2012

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This year’s winner of Book of the Year 2012 is  Becoming an Archaeologist: a guide to professional pathways by Joe Flatman, as reviewed in issue 260 of Current Archaeology.

Becoming an Archaeologist: a guide to professional  pathways  —  CA  260

Joe Flatman

This free and frank discussion of life as an archaeologist in the UK, USA, and Australia pulls no punches. Some of Flatman’s assessments of typical pay and working conditions may seem pessimistic, but his enthusiasm for the discipline shines through. This comprehensive volume is a treasure trove of  advice for anyone aspiring to enter the field.

On receiving the award, Joe Flatman said:
‘Writing a book that the readers of Current Archaeology like so much is  really pleasing. If you can’t create something that appeals to your readers  — who represent all ages and all kinds of people — then what is the point  of writing at all?’




This year has brought many excellent new books through our door, but the following titles are those we feel deserve special recognition, and were also nominated in this category.


Celtic from the West  —  CA 251

Barry Cunliffe/John Koch

It was long thought that Celtic-speaking peoples first appeared in west-central Europe in the 5th or 6th century BC, but this daring volume argues a radically different case. In a move sure to inspire lively debate, Koch and Cunliffe suggest proto-Celtic in fact  arose  among Bronze Age traders  with Eastern Mediterranean contacts and spread from Iberia to Orkney as a commercial lingua franca.  


The Story of Silbury Hill  —  CA  252

Jim Leary/David Field

This accessibly-written book explores one of the most enigmatic monuments of the late Neolithic. Supported by a wealth of plans and diagrams, Field and Leary take their readers through the mound’s multiple stages of construction, as well as the centuries of investigations which pulled it apart again, ultimately leading to the top collapsing in 2002.


Social Relations in Later Prehistory: Wessex in the first millennium BC CA 254

Niall Sharples

Bridging the gap between the late Bronze and Iron Ages for the first time, Sharples presents an alternative account of later prehistoric society. This book elegantly synthesises previous scholarship on the subject and sets an ambitious new agenda for the study of this period.


The Frontiers of Imperial Rome  —  CA  261

David Breeze

The Roman Empire’s frontiers span three continents, covering 4800 miles across 20 modern countries. Today their walls stand as a physical reminder of both Rome’s expansive ambitions and the ultimate limitations of these. Breeze charts the development of these fortifications, considering whether they were intended as physical barriers or merely reflective of the Romans’ love of spectacular architecture.




  1. Vote for Becoming an Archaeologist: a guide to professionalpathways—CA 260 by Joe Flatman!

  2. Vote for the book, the archaeologist, the excavation and the research that YOU think is best. 🙂

  3. I am voting for The story of Silbury Hill
    CA252 because the content including images and illustrations are spectacular

    It is also printed very well. I also have been lucky that I have pictures of me inside the Hill.

    Best Wishes

  4. The Story of Silbury Hill definitely gets my vote.
    This is an excellent, knowledgeable and well-written book on a fascinating subject – recommended!

  5. Social Relations in Later Prehistory: Wessex in the First Millennium BC — Niall Sharples
    I particularly enjoyed the insights into the Bronze Age

  6. Joe Flatman’s book, Becoming an Archaeologist,gets my vote hands down. Having had a book such as this one in my early years would have made the path shorter and much clearer.

  7. Celtic From The West–by Cunliffe and Koch

    Here is certainly the most convincing research on this fascinating subject. Previous ideas of the source of our Celtic languages have been re-examined and shown to be inadequate. It is set out logically and written clearly .
    This revolutionary publication is a winner.

  8. Social Relations in Later Prehistory: Wessex in the first millennium BC by Niall Sharples gets my vote, nice illustrations too.

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