Our fascination with archaeology began thousands of years ago, with the aim to rediscover ancient Chinese customs and methods of production. In the 9th century, the first attempt was made to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. As the centuries have passed, archaeology has become increasingly respected, as it enables us to understand past civilizations and make sense of the progress the human race has made.
In this fabulous guided tour of the world’s greatest archaeological finds, mysterious sites such as the standing stones of Stonehenge, the carved stone heads of Easter Island and the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio are visited. Despite all the incredible technical advances that have been made, archaeologists still struggle to answer the great question about these sites: why were they built?
The book also visits the ruined cities of ancient civilizations including Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan in South America, Masada and Babylon in the Mediterranean and Middle East and Armana in Egypt. Aside from the unbelievable feats of engineering they represent, these ruins are often peppered with fragments of history, that are pieced together by experts to give evidence of the way ancient communities lived, worked and worshipped together.
Community, lifestyle, war and worship have always been important aspects of human life. Yet without the remains of cave paintings, burial mounds and barrows, pyramids, temples and monuments, these stories, customs and rites would soon be lost. The meanings of the sites and relics are discussed, with an account of the discovery or extraction of relics and treasures for each site. More than 350 clear maps and evocative photographs show the locations, and allow readers a glimpse of the stunning artefacts that have made archaeology a worldwide passion today.
Paul Bahn is a respected writer, editor and translator of books on archaeology. He studied archaeology at the University of Cambridge, and did his Ph.D. thesis on the prehistory of the French Pyrenees. He has held post-doctoral fellowships at Liverpool and London, plus a J. Paul Getty fellowship in the History of Art and the Humanities.