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Book Review: Experimentelle Archäologie. Eine Gratwanderung zwischen Wissenschaft und Kommerz by Dirk Vorlauf

Wulf Hein (DE)
The name Dirk Vorlauf is closely connected to the history of experimental archaeology in Germany. From the late1980s, the Vorlauf has conducted several experiments testing archaeological hypotheses, and he is critically involved in methodology and theory. He continues this work in this book, which is published as part of the series Experimentelle Archäologie of the Landesmuseum Natur und Mensch in Oldenburg, Germany.
In the first 25 pages, Vorlauf describes how this branch of research developed and changed over the past 20 years. He writes from a position of knowledge and competenc, and he also includes a discussion of archaeological open-air museums and archaeotechnique. In the end he dares to show a vision of the future of experimental archaeology. This part of the book is rather short, but the author has focused on another, maybe more important project.

The largest part of the book is filled with an extensive bibliography on experimental archaeology. Over 3,500 titles are collected by Vorlauf, which are sorted alphabetically by author name and can be searched for by theme. With that, this book offers the interested reader an extensive list of literature covering 10 languages. It does not simply offer an overview over already executed experiments, but also offers a good start in individual, specialist themes. This is especially interesting for those experimenters who want to become active themselves and – as is important with every serious project – start with a literature search. For them, Vorlauf has presented a ‘full cupboard with tools’, which should be on the shelf of every experimenter.

Schriftenreihe des Landesmuseums „Natur und Mensch“, Heft 86
Oldenburg, Isensee-Verlag 2011, 256 S., 27 coloured images, € 16,90

VORLAUF, D., "Experimentelle Archäologie. Eine Gratwanderung zwischen Wirtschaft und Kommerz", Schriftenreihe des Landesmuseums Natur und Mensch, vol. 86, Oldenburg, Landesmuseum Natur und Mensch, pp. 256, 2011.
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