Ian Brown's Books
Marking Graves in
Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
The Musings of a Teacher
He sends his students out into the cemeteries “armed with very specific research questions.” To whom are they asking these questions? The living? On many occasions I have heard Ian insist that cemeteries are indeed for the living, that those elaborate burial rituals and markings are ourmeager attempts to
hold back the broad, merciless, and unending river of time. We erect headstones and we leave flowers—a universal yet odd desire to impart beauty and life to the cold and inert. Alongside the flowers we seem increasingly to be leaving such everyday objects as footballs and Bama memorabilia, Christmas boxes, and figurines (mostly angels). What are these mementoes saying? But perhaps Ian wants his students to direct their questions to the dead…by first looking closely at those who came before and
then asking the right questions, we ourselves will be changed… By learning about them, we learn from them. We gain insight into the human condition.
—FROM THE PREFACE BY G. WARD HUBBS
You can purchase Marking Graves here
The Petite Anse Project
Archaeological Investigations along the
West-central Coast of Louisiana 1978–1979
Avery Island is known far and wide for its natural beauty. Live oaks bearing festoons of Spanish moss, fields plush with red hot peppers, snowy egrets building nesting beside the ponds, and alligators peering slyly above the murky waters are but a few of the elements that make this island a virtual Eden. However, it was the presence of an active saline that made Avery Island attractive to both historic and prehistoric populations. Indians made good use of the Salt Mine Valley site for making salt in late prehistoric times, and even earlier Indians used the island to erect earthen edifices, such as the Banana Bayou Mound. In the Petite Anse Project Ian Brown begins with a thorough discussion of the archaeology of Avery Island and then heads out to the other salt domes and surrounding marsh in exploring the rich culture history of the coastal plain. Three parishes receive major treatment in this volume and well over a hundred sites are explored. The degradation brought about by hurricanes and industry has changed forever the west-central coast of Louisiana. Because many of the sites visited and described by the author have sadly disappeared, this work is an important time capsule for those interested in Louisiana’s past.
You can purchase The Petite Anse Project here
Time Travelers in England
American's in Search of Salt
Time Travelers in England is a personal narrative of an archaeologist who studies salt. In the first half of the book Ian W. Brown and his nephew Trevor Hughes explore the various "wiches" of Cheshire County (Middlewich, Nantwich, and Northwich) via canal boat, the way that salt would have been transported in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Along the way they have many "Pickwickian" adventures. The second half of the volume deals with Droitwich, the Worcestershire countryside, the Cotswolds, and many other locales where numerous features on the British landscape quite simply were in need of exploration. It is a rich tale of B&Bs, pubs, museums, and numerous archaeological and historical sites wherein two American come to terms with the land of their ancestors. Interested readers might also turn to The Red Hills of Essex: Studying Salt in England, also by Brown, for an earlier tromp on the British countryside in search of salt and the fascinating impact that it had on society and culture.
You can purchase Time Travelers in England here.
About the Author
Ian W. Brown is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alabama and Curator of Gulf Coast Archaeology at the Alabama Museum of Natural History. As one of the foremost scholars of salt archaeology in North America, Ian recently has turned his expertise and enthusiasm to salt production sites throughout the world.
The Red Hills of Essex
Studying Salt in England
The foremost scholar of salt archaeology in North America, Ian Brown has turned his expertise and enthusiasm to Iron Age and Roman salt production in Essex. The resulting illustrated and engaging account is both highly personal and exhaustive, providing a thorough review of the existing literature as well as his own travels, and resulting in an original model for the ancient salt manufacture in the area. A must read for scholars interested in salt archaeology anywhere in the world, Brown has once again proven why his work is indispensable.
You can purchase The Red Hills of Essex here.
Above & Beyond the Pale
A Portrait of Life and Death in Ireland
An American archaeologist travels through Ireland recording life's experiences. A fascination with cemeteries leads him to explore the many ways in which death is memorialized in the Emerald Isle, both now and in antiquity. The author's detailed journal entries enable readers to learn of megalithic monuments, monasteries, battlefields, castles, the backstreets of Dublin, and many more venues of this wonderful enchanted land.
You can purchase Above &Beyond the Pale here.
Bottle Creek Reflections
The Personal Side of Archaeology in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta
This book is a voyage of discovery into the past. Its author charts the waters of Alabama's Mobile-Tensaw Delta as he explores the Bottle Creek site, the principal late prehistoric mound center of the Pensacola Culture. This site, now a National Historic Landmark, was the scene of three seasons of archaeological fieldwork in the early 1990s. Ian Brown and his team of investigators not only provide a vivid picture of what swamp archaeology is like at the "trowel's edge," as seen from the day-to-day perspective of doing archaeology, but they offer the swamp itself in all its majesty, glory, and danger. This is a book about life in the swamp, both now and then. Any who follow in the wake of the Bottle Creek boat must do so with ample caution and due reflection.
You can purchase Bottle Creek Reflections here.