Review: Gould, Disaster Archaeology

Alfredo Gonzalez Ruibal posted an interesting review on Archaeolog:

Richard J. Gould: Disaster Archaeology, The University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 2007, ISBN 978-0-87480-894-0, 288 p., 55 figures, 5 tables, cloth.

Disaster Archaeology CoverRichard Gould’s new book shows us the usefulness of archaeology to understand contemporary disasters and the relevance of forensic methods for archaeology both in the past and in the present. Furthermore, the author eloquently defends the key public role of disaster archaeology: through the identification of human remains and personal belongings, it can bring closure to victims’ relatives and allow them to mourn their dead….
The narrative is an honest one: failures, doubts and problems are brought to the fore throughout. We join the author in a journey that starts in New York, little after 9/11. This brutal event was crucial in Gould’s decision to establish an archaeological unit that could help the authorities in disasters. After the marked experience of 9/11, the group was put to work in the Station Nightclub Fire, in West Warwick (Rhode Island), where they proved both the relevance of archaeology for forensic recovery and that of ethnoarchaeology to understand subsequent phenomena of memorialization.

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