Preface to the Second Edition

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


This second edition of the multi-volume work goes beyond the comprehensive and systematic coverage of archaeology that appears in the first edition. The field of archaeology continues to grow and the collaborations between archaeologists and researchers in other areas - environmental studies, landscape studies, art history, demography, biomedicine, chemistry, museum specialists, etc. - continues to grow. This second edition builds on the massive collection of information and research from the first edition by adding new entries as well as updating the existing entries.

What is different about the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology? Firstly, when we started the second edition, we knew it was built on a strong foundation.We gained confidence to experiment a little more as we came to appreciate that this flexible, international, interdisciplinary (sometimes postdisciplinary) approach to scholarship is successful. At the time of writing the encyclopedia has had 400,000 downloads, according to Bookmetrics. In 2019, the Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology was the third most cited and the fourth most downloaded of 804 books in Springer’s 2014 Humanities, Law and Social Sciences collection. By early 2020, the first edition had been cited 635 times. We can be confident that people are using, and citing, this encyclopedia.

The second edition of the Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology is broader in concept than the original. It is informed by a definition of archaeology that I developed, archaeology as “the study of human behaviour, past and present, through the analysis of material culture, both real and virtual, as situated within cultural landscapes” (Claire Smith, Pyrenae, Vol. 48 (1), April, 2017). In this edition of the encyclopedia, there is a greater emphasis on the virtual realm, a trend that will continue. I love the biographies, especially of those archaeologists from countries whose first language is not English. I have learnt a lot about the scholars who established archaeology in Japan, Argentina, Russia, India, and other parts of the world. I have learnt about their lives as well as their archaeological achievements. Finally, I return to the
review in Antiquity:

The city’s panegyrists described it [Rome] as a cosmopolis, a place where the full
diversity of the known world—its peoples, ideas, animals, plants and things of every
kind—could be experienced in a single place. Such is the Encyclopedia of Global
Archaeology (Chris Scarre and Robert Witcher, Antiquity, Vol. 89 (343), February,
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Global Archaeology
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages5
Volume18 volumes
ISBN (Electronic)9783030300173
ISBN (Print)9783030300166
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2020


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