Lynne C. Lancaster— 2007 James R. Wiseman Book Award

Award Citation:

The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to present the 2007 James R. Wiseman Book Award to Lynne C. Lancaster for Concrete Vaulted Construction in Imperial Rome: Innovations in Context (Cambridge and New York 2005).

This book represents a significant contribution to the study of Roman architecture and archaeology from a technical aspect. Anyone who reads it will never be able to look at Roman concrete buildings in the same way again. Lancaster covers all aspects of the technology of concrete construction, which is useful not only for teaching Roman archaeology and architecture but also for understanding how Roman concrete structures were designed and built.

While this is a specialized study, and a very important one in its field, it also communicates in clear and appealing language to the interested nonspecialist and layperson. The book represents an excellent marriage of architectural specifics with broader cultural analysis. Furthermore, Concrete Vaulted Construction provides substantial archaeological evidence, rather than conjecture and speculation, about Roman construction. Lancaster’s clear illustrations and straightforward prose render the subject more comprehensible, and thus potentially more appealing to a much wider audience, than has previously been possible. It belongs on the archaeologist’s bookshelf next to the essential works by Giuseppe Lugli, Marion E. Blake, and Jean-Pierre Adam, as a full member of that distinguished group of seminal studies of Roman construction and buildings. This book is a worthy addition to the list of winners of the James R. Wiseman Book Award of the Archaeological Institute of America. 

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