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Our full catalogue is presented here by publication date. Volumes published under the McDonald Monographs Series (hardback) are distributed by Oxbow Books/Casemate Academic. Direct links to Oxbow Books are included in the catalogue where the book is still in print. Volumes published under the McDonald Conversations Series (online open access only) have links to the University of Cambridge repository Apollo, where they may be freely accessed. 

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Interamna LirenasAncient Egyptian goldInspired geoarchaeologiesTemple people | Gardening time | Fierce lions, angry mice and fat-tailed sheepMaking cities


Interamna Lirenas A Roman town in Central Italy revealed

edited by: Alessandro Launaro & Martin Millett

Hardback | £52.00 / US $65.00 | ISBN 978-1-913344-10-8 | xi + 157 pp. | 60 figs | 2 tables | 2023 | Buy now

eBook | ISBN 978-1-913344-11-5 | xi + 157 pp. | 60 figs | 2 tables | 2023 |  Download now for free

The Roman town of Interamna Lirenas (Southern Lazio, Central Italy) was established as a colony in 312 bc and was occupied until the 6th century ad. Despite its long life, it has since almost disappeared from view: until recently, the site only featured a series of crop fields, its visible archaeology amounting to little more than a dense ploughsoil assemblage, with very few standing remains. However, since 2010 an integrated archaeological project by the Faculty of Classics of the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with various other institutions, has explored both the town  and its surrounding countryside through geophysical prospection, field survey and excavation. The research presented in this volume covers survey work over the urban area. It provides an account and discussion of the results of our application of non-destructive archaeological methods (geophysical prospection and systematic surface collections) to the study of the urban site. It includes a review of what was known of the town prior to our involvement, and also a discussion of the development, potential and limitations of the kind of high-resolution, extensive ground-penetrating radar survey which was carried out. This study places special emphasis on the earliest colonial phase as well as later transformations, and explores how the inhabitants of Interamna Lirenas responded to the challenges and opportunities presented by a growing Roman world, thus identifying the conditions that contributed to the town as a successful urban centre. This volume thus contributes substantial new evidence to broader historical debates about the political, social, economic and cultural development of Roman urbanism, in Italy and beyond.


Alessandro Launaro FSA is Associate Professor in Classics (Classical Art & Archaeology) at the Faculty of Classics of the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.

Martin Millett FBA FSA MAE is Emeritus Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology at the Faculty of Classics of the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

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Ancient Egyptian gold: Archaeology and science in jewellery (3500-1000 BC)

edited by: Maria Filomena Guerra, Marcos Martinón-Torres & Stephen Quirke

Hardback | £65.00 / US $82.00 | ISBN 978-1-913344-12-2 | xxv + 495 pp. | 415 figs | 88 tables | 2023 | Buy now

eBook | ISBN 978-1-913344-13-9 | xxv + 495 pp. | 415 figs | 88 tables | 2023 | Download now for free

This book aims to provide a new level of synthesis in the study of gold jewellery made in Egypt between 3500 bc and 1000 bc, integrating the distinct approaches of archaeology, materials science and Egyptology. Following accessible introductions to the art and use of gold in Ancient Egypt, and to current advances in technical analyses, the volume presents detailed results on the manufacturing technology and elemental composition of some 136 objects in the collections of six European museums, with discussion of the findings in historical and cultural contexts. The questions generated by the jewellery buried with a woman and a child at Qurna (Thebes) led to investigation of assemblages and individual artefacts from later and earlier periods in varied social contexts, from the rural environment of Qau and Badari, to sites connected with urban or royal centres, such as Riqqa, Haraga and Lahun. A final discussion of the Qurna group provides an agenda for future research.


Maria F. Guerra is Director of research in Chemistry at the National Center for Scientific Research (UMR 8233 MONARIS, Sorbonne University). Her interests are in the analytical study of goldwork.

Marcos Martinón-Torres is Pitt-Rivers Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Cambridge, and editor of the Journal of Archaeological Science. He has a particular interest in past technologies.

Stephen Quirke is Edwards Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Philology at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. His interests include Middle Kingdom social history, as well as the history of archaeology and collections.

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 Inspired geoarchaeologies: past landscapes and social change Essays in honour of Professor Charles A. I. French

edited by Federica Sulas, Helen Lewis & Manuel Arroyo-Kalin

eBook | ISBN 978-1-913344-09-2 | xvii + 283 pp. | 116 figs | 22 tables | 2022 | Download now for free

Geoarchaeological research captures dimensions of the past at an unprecedented level of detail and multiple spatial and temporal scales. The record of the past held by soils and sediments is an archive for past environments, climate change, resource use, settlement lifeways, and societal development and resilience over time. When the McDonald Institute was established at Cambridge, geoarchaeology was one of the priority fields for a new research and teaching environment. An opportunity to develop the legacy of Charles McBurney was bestowed upon Charles French, whose ‘geoarchaeology in action’ approach has had an enormous impact in advancing knowledge, principles and practices across academic, teaching and professional sectors. Many journeys that began at Cambridge have since proliferated into dozens of inspired geoarchaeologies worldwide. This volume presents research and reflection from across the globe by colleagues in tribute to Charly, under whose leadership the Charles McBurney Laboratory became a beacon of geoarchaeology.


Federica Sulas is a senior research associate at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. Her background is in oriental studies and African archaeology (BA Hons, Naples) and geoarchaeology (MPhil & PhD, University of Cambridge). Her main research interests are in landscape historical ecologies and water–food security.

Helen Lewis is an associate professor at University College Dublin School of Archaeology. Her background is in archaeology and anthropology (BA, University of Toronto), environmental archaeology (MSc, University of Sheffield) and archaeological soil micromorphology (PhD, University of Cambridge). She mostly works today on cave sites in Southeast Asia, but she still loves northwest European Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments and landscapes, and ancient agricultural soils.

Manuel Arroyo-Kalin is Associate Professor of Geoarchaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. He is interested in the Anthropocene, human niche construction and historical ecology, and uses earth science methods, including soil micromorphological analysis, to study past anthropic landscape modification and anthropogenic soil formation. His main research focus is the pre-Colonial human landscape history of tropical lowland South America, particularly the Amazon basin, where he is engaged in the long-term comparative study of Amazonian dark earths.

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Temple people: Bioarchaeology, resilience and culture in prehistoric Malta

edited by Simon Stoddart, Ronika K. Power, Jess E. Thompson, Bernardette Mercieca-Spiteri, Rowan McLaughlin, Eóin W. Parkinson, Anthony Pace & Caroline Malone

Hardback | £65.00 / US $86.00 | ISBN 978-1-913344-07-8  | xxvii + 344 pp. | 331 figs | 58 tables | 2022 | Buy now

eBook | ISBN 978-1-913344-08-5 | xxvii + 344 pp. | 331 figs | 58 tables | 2022 | Download now for free

The ERC-funded FRAGSUS Project (Fragility and sustainability in small island environments: adaptation, culture change and collapse in prehistory, 2013–18) led by Caroline Malone has focused on the unique Temple Culture of Neolithic Malta and its antecedents. This third volume builds on the achievements of Mortuary customs in prehistoric Malta, published by the McDonald Institute in 2009. It seeks to answer many questions posed, but left unanswered, of the more than 200,000 fragments of mainly commingled human remains from the Xagħra Brochtorff Circle on Gozo. The focus is on the interpretation of a substantial, representative subsample of the assemblage, exploring dentition, disease, diet and lifestyle, together with detailed understanding of chronology and the affinity of the ancient population associated with the ‘Temple Culture’ of prehistoric Malta. The first studies of genetic profiling of this population, as well as the results of intra-site GIS and visualization, taphonomy, health and mobility, offer important insights into this complex mortuary site and its ritual.

Remarkable evidence on the bioanthropology of care practised by these populations, together with a relatively low level of interpersonal violence, and examples of longevity, reveal new aspects about the Neolithic Maltese. Detailed case studies employing computerized tomography describe disease such as =scurvy and explore dietary issues, whilst physical activity and body size have been assessed through biomechanical analysis, supported by taphonomic study, isotopic analyses, a review of mortuary practices during prehistory and a robust new chronology. The results form a rich contextualized body of material that advances understanding of cultural change within the context of small island insularity, and provides biological comparisons for the graphic figurative art of early Malta. These data and the original assemblage are conserved in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta as a resource for future study.

Simon Stoddart is Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge.

Ronika K. Power is Professor of Bioarchaeology in the Department of History and Archaeology at Macquarie University, and the Director of the Centre for Ancient Cultural Heritage and Environment (CACHE).

Jess E. Thompson is a research associate on the ‘ANCESTORS’ project at the McDonald Institute, Cambride.

Bernardette Mercieca-Spiteri is the osteological officer of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Malta.

Rowan McLaughlin is a Pathway Fellow at the Hamilton Institute, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, where he is principal investigator of the IRC-funded project ‘A deep history of Ireland for the Information Age’.

Eóin W. Parkinson is a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta.

Anthony Pace was Superintendent of Cultural Heritage on Malta during the course of the FRAGSUS Project.

Caroline Malone is Professor in the School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast.

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Gardening time: Monuments and landscape from Sardinia, Scotland and Central Europe in the very long Iron Age

edited by Simon Stoddart, Ethan D. Aines & Caroline Malone

eBook | ISBN 978-1-913344-04-7 | xxii + 242 pp. | 96 figs | 5 tables | 2021 | Download now for free

 Gardening may seem worlds away from Nuraghi and brochs, but tending a garden is a long process involving patience, accretion and memory. Scholars argue that memories are also cultured, developed and regained. The monuments in Scotland and Sardinia are testament to the importance of memory and its role in maintaining social relations. This collection of twenty-one papers addresses the theme of memory anchored to the enduring presence of monuments, mainly from Scotland and Sardinia, but also from Central Europe and the Balkans.


Simon Stoddart is a Professor in the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge.

Ethan D. Aines is a Policy Assistant at Cambridge Zero, Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge.

Caroline Malone is Professor of Prehistory at Queen’s University, Belfast

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Fierce lions, angry mice and fat-tailed sheep: Animal encounters in the ancient Near East

edited by Laerke Recht and Christina Tsouparopoulou

eBook | ISBN 978-1-913344-05-4 | xiii + 289 pp. | 99 figs | 20 tables | 2021 | Download now for free

Animals have always been an integral part of human existence. In the ancient Near East, this is evident in the record of excavated assemblages of faunal remains, iconography and – for the later historical periods – texts. Animals have predominantly been examined as part of consumption and economy, and while these are important aspects of society in the ancient Near East, the relationships between humans and animals were extremely varied and complex.

Domesticated animals had great impact on social, political and economic structures – for example cattle in agriculture and diet, or donkeys and horses in transport, trade and war. Fantastic mythological beasts such as lion-headed eagles or Anzu-birds in Mesopotamia or Egyptian deities such as the falcon-headed god Horus were part of religious beliefs and myths, while exotic creatures such as lions were part of elite symbolling from the fourth millennium bc onward. In some cases, animals also intruded on human lives in unwanted ways by scavenging or entering the household; this especially applies to small or wild animals. But animals were also attributed agency with the ability to solve problems; the distinction between humans and other animals often blurs in ritual, personal and place names, fables and royal ideology. They were helpers, pets and companions in life and death, peace and war. An association with cult and mortuary practices involves sacrifice and feasting, while some animals held special symbolic significance.

This volume is a tribute to the animals of the ancient Near East (including Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt), from the fourth through first millennia bc, and their complex relationship with the environment and other human and nonhuman animals. Offering faunal, textual and iconographic studies, the contributions present a fascinating array of the many ways in which animals influence human life and death, and explore new perspectives in the exciting field of human-animal studies as applied to this part of the world.

Laerke Recht is Professor of Early Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Graz, Austria, and a former Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. She is particularly interested in and has published on human–animal relations in the ancient Near East, Cyprus and Aegean.

Christina Tsouparopoulou is Assistant Professor in Near Eastern Archaeology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, Senior Research Associate and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research and Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. She specializes in the material and textual culture of the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean in the third and second millennia bc.

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Making cities: Economies of production and urbanization in Mediterranean Europe, 1000 - 500 BC 

edited by Margarita Gleba, Beatriz Marín-Aguilera and Bela Dimova

eBook | ISBN 978-1-913344-06-1 | xvii + 454 pp. | 231 figs | 22 tables 2021 | Download now for free

Large and complex settlements appeared across the north Mediterranean during the period 1000–500 bc, from the Aegean basin to Iberia, as well as north of the Alps. The region also became considerably more interconnected. Urban life and networks fostered new consumption practices, requiring different economic and social structures to sustain them. This book considers the emergence of cities in Mediterranean Europe, with a focus on the economy. What was distinctive about urban lifeways across the Mediterranean? How did different economic activities interact, and how did they transform power hierarchies? How was urbanism sustained by economic structures, social relations and mobility? The authors bring to the debate recently excavated sites and regions that may be unfamiliar to wider (especially Anglophone) scholarship, alongside fresh reappraisals of well-known cities. The variety of urban life, economy and local dynamics prompts us to reconsider ancient urbanism through a comparative perspective.


Margarita Gleba is a Professor at the University of Padua and Honorary Senior Lecturer at University College London.

Beatriz Marín-Aguilera is a Renfrew Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge.

Bela Dimova is a A. G. Leventis Fellow in Hellenic Studies at the British School at Athens.


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