Benjamin R. Foster and Karen Polinger Foster— 2011 Felicia A. Holton Book Award

Award Citation:

The Archaeological Institute of America and the Center for American Archaeology are pleased to present the first Felicia A. Holton Book Award to Benjamin R. Foster and Karen Polinger Foster for Civilizations of Ancient Iraq (Princeton 2009).

The Fosters’ book traces Iraq’s rich and varied history from the earliest Neolithic settlements to the Muslim conquest, with chapters that focus on the individual cultures that prospered in this area. It effectively weaves ancient texts and archaeological artifacts to present scholarly research in an engaging style that makes complicated material accessible to the general public. The authors describe the agricultural revolution that produced cities, the invention of writing that made governance and literature possible, the law Code of Hammurabi, the successive domination of the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Parthians, and finally the Sassanians. They conclude with an epilogue that brings the archaeology of Iraq up to the present day and demonstrates its importance to the modern nation to the rest of the world.

The book includes maps of the area, annotated illustrations of artifacts and monuments, an extensive bibliography, and an effective index. It is a concise and interesting treatment of a political area and of preservation and cultural heritage issues that are of great importance today.

The Archaeological Institute of America and the Center for American Archaeology present this award in recognition of the Fosters’ contribution to the field of archaeology through their effective exploration of the past and its continuing impact on the present.