Silchester – Life on the Dig || Jenny Halstead & Michael Fulford

Strictly speaking, this isn’t an art book and has no business here. It is, however, a delightful account of what it is like to work on an archaeological site and is illustrated with some first-rate paintings and drawings, so I think it qualifies. On top of that, the publisher sent it unrequested, so I assume they wanted a review from this perspective.

As my artist friend is also interested in archaeology, I showed it to her and she shares my view of it. She comments that it’s a fully authentic account and would make a great gift for someone about to start a degree course, giving them a full flavour of both the delights and privations to come. “It covers everything bar the inside of a smelly portaloo”, she commented.

Jenny Halstead is an artist and illustrator and Michael Fulford is Professor of Archaeology at Reading University, which organised the work at Silchester, which is just north of Basingstoke. The text is therefore authoritative as well as entertaining and the illustrations include both general scenes (the art) and a good selection of finds (the illustrations). If you admired Victor Ambrus’ work on Channel 4’s Time Team, this will be right up your street.

The only comment my friend had was that the type used for the captions is far too small. I’m having some trouble even with my good glasses on, so you might want to have a magnifying glass to hand – it’s worth it.

Click the picture to view on Amazon

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