It is no surprise that archaeologists should be drawn to the study of ancient urbanism. As markers of social complexity, cities are key to understanding the organisation and development of human societies. But why were people attracted to cities in the past? Presumably they perceived the political and economic significance of these urban centres. Yet there was also disease, crime and inequality. In this NBC, we sample recent volumes that explore the possibilities and problems of urban living. We travel from medieval Europe, through the ancient Mediterranean, to Mesoamerica; we visit royal palaces and Greek brothels; and we witness industrious city folk buying, selling, making and baking.
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