Past Vulnerability: Vulcanic eruptions and human vulnerability in traditional societies past and present edited by Felix Riede, an associate professor in the Department of Archaeology at Aarhus University, is a collection of academic essays on the link between geological and human activity, free for a limited time courtesy of the Aarhus University Press in Denmark.
This collection of essays explores past volcanic events from 10,000s of years ago to relatively recent times, and their effects on the local cultures surrounding, via a combination of geological and archaeological and literature studies approaches to examine their physical and social impacts.
There are some pretty nifty ones which do things like look through old Icelandic literature (and the Bible and Quran) for reports on tales of eruptions handed down through various means before being recorded into an official historical document, and how people coped with the after effects (and maybe an explanation for the fabled Fimbulwinter of Norse mynthology), as well as directly examining the remains of archaeological evidence from hunter-gatherers several thousands of years BCE.
Offered worldwide through May, available from the university’s website as their featured English-language Free Book of the Month selection.
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Things from the Town: Artefacts and Inhabitants in Viking-age Kaupang edited by Dagfinn Skre, a Professor of Archaeology at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo in Norway, is a collection of academic essays about Viking Age archaeological finds, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher the Aarhus University Press in Denmark.
This is the 3rd volume in the Kaupang Excavation Project series collecting academic essays pertaining to an extensive project from the University about the excavations carried out on the eponymous Viking Age marketplace excavation site in Norway. This volume covers assorted uncovered artifacts and their relation to the inhabitants’ daily lives and wider world. It’s very comprehensive volume , and not only showcases assorted finds of metalwork, precious jewellery, glassware, textiles, and more, but also placing them in context in the townspeoples’ lives of how they were made locally or acquired via trade, etc.
Offered through the month of December, available worldwide DRM-free.
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Danish Medieval Castles by Rikke Agnete Olsen, an historian associated with the National Museum of Denmark, translated by Joan F. Davidson with illustrations by Janne Klerk, is her accessibly-written overview of the history, archaeology, and architecture of Danish medieval castles, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Aarhus University Press in Denmark.
This is an English-language translation of the Danish original Danske middelalderborge, which was chosen as one of the 2011 Year’s Best Book Works by the Forening for Boghaandværk (a bookcrafter’s association). This is a very nicely done coffee table sort of artbook, with plenty of historical backgrounder and general how-they-lived sort of info (including a medieval pancake recipe!) in addition to the specific architectural data, as well as lots of colour photographs and black & white line diagrams, and a helpful illustrated glossary of castle construction terms.
Offered through the month of November, available worldwide DRM-free.
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Obelisker i Rom (Obelisks in Rome) by Lise Manniche, an assistant professor of Egyptology at the University of Copenhagen, is her Danish-language archaeological survey of Egyptian artifacts, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Aarhus University Press in Denmark.
This is an accessibly-written Danish-language academic survey of the thirteen Egyptian obelisks in the city of Rome, covering their history from ancient times to the present day, lavishly illustrated with many colour photographs. Maps of the past and present locations of the obelisks are included, as well as translations of their associated original texts.
Offered through the month of November, available worldwide DRM-free.
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The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths is the 1st novel in her Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries series of contemporary police procedural murder mysteries, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Quercus.
This series stars a forensic archaeologist in Norfolk, England, and this story involves the discovery of bones which may be those of a missing person whose case has haunted a local DCI for years. Offered in the UK, Europe, and Oceania at multiple retailers.
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Kaupang in Skiringssal edited by Dagfinn Skre, a Professor associated with the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo in Norway, is Volume I in the Kaupang Excavation Project Publication Series describing and analyzing the findings of archaeological excavation projects at the eponymous Viking era site, free for a limited time courtesy of Aarhus University Press in Denmark.
This is a very extensive-looking work, with this initial volume consisting of a very thorough overview of past scholarship and archaeological explorations throughout the preceding centuries, before delving into the papers describing the modern findings and analysis in detail. Offered DRM-free worldwide, available through the month of May.
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Dansk middelalderborge (Danish Medieval Castles) by Rikke Agnete Olsen with photographs by Janne Klerk is their lavishly-illustrated Danish-language survey of Danish medieval architecture and archaeology, free for a limited time courtesy of Aarhus University Press in Denmark.
This is an accessibly-written coffee table sort of book with a solid academic background, which was chosen as a Year’s Best selection for a Danish bookseller’s association.
It contains many photographs of the castles and their surrounding landscapes and interiors as they are now, as well as line illustrations showing their construction and a pictorial glossary of architectural terms. There are also accompanying texts which cover more about the castles and the daily lives of their residents in detail, including a transcription of a medieval pancake recipe. Offered DRM-free worldwide, available through the month of May.
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