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The Archaeology of Improvement in Britain, 1750–1850
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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.


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.'

Source: Landscape History

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