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The Archaeology of Improvement in Britain, 1750–1850

Part of Cambridge Studies in Archaeology

  • Date Published: September 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107407299

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About the Authors
  • In this innovative 2007 study, Sarah Tarlow shows how the archaeology of this period manifests a widespread and cross-cutting ethic of improvement. Theoretically informed and drawn from primary and secondary sources in a range of disciplines, the author considers agriculture and the rural environment, towns, and buildings such as working-class housing and institutions of reform. From bleach baths to window glass, rubbish pits to tea wares, the material culture of the period reflects a particular set of values and aspirations. Tarlow examines the philosophical and historical background to the notion of improvement and demonstrates how this concept is a useful lens through which to examine the material culture of later historical Britain.

    • The first original, theoretically-aware synthesis of British archaeology of this period
    • The first book to give sustained critical attention to the idea of improvement in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
    • Examines all kinds of physical traces of the past, including artefacts, buildings, landscapes, archaeological features and town plans
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '[Tarlow] produces an extremely useful synthesis of much archaeological and historical research, demonstrating that people in this period made many significant changes to their material world which they described as 'improvement'. … Tarlow has many useful and original things to say about the archaeology of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. … this book is well worth reading, and also extremely easy to read - Tarlow writes with clarity and, at times, elegance. … this is a stimulating and provocative read.' Landscape History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107407299
    • length: 238 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Agricultural improvement
    3. The improved rural landscape
    4. Towns and civic improvement
    5. Improving the people
    6. The right stuff
    7. Final thoughts.

  • Author

    Sarah Tarlow, University of Leicester

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