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Author, lexicographer, and archaeologist Kipfer (The Archaeologist's Fieldwork Companion) has produced a reference resource with nearly 3000 A-to-Z entries for vocabulary describing all aspects of artifacts in a global context. The stated scope is very restricted, excluding all architectural terminology as well as specific historical artifacts, although the Palermo stone, the Rosetta stone, and the Ruthwell cross are present. Definitions are written with the general reader in mind and address discovery, typology, dating, conservation, and decoration. Some time periods are included, but as Kipfer notes in the preface, "only the ones that are fairly uncontroversial and those referred to in the definitions of other entries." There is no true cross-referencing: "Jamdat Nasr" is not found as a reference to "Jemdet Nasr," the term used, but is included at the end of that entry in brackets. Alternately, an ancient Egyptian funerary figurine has three entries, one under each spelling variation: "shabti," "shawabti," and "ustabti." Illustrations are kept to a minimum.
—Edward K. Werner