Ancient history and archaeology – Brief Article

Ancient history and archaeology – Brief Article – Bibliography

The range of quality titles on all periods and aimed at every level continues to grow. Here we preview this season’s leading titles, and review some of the best recent history.

Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilisation by Graham Hancock (Michael Joseph, 18.99 [pounds sterling]) explores recently discovered unexplained underwater structures around the world and hypothesises about very ancient civilisations wiped out by great floods.

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Investigating the origins of aggression and warfare in the earliest of civilizations, up to the Assyrian Empire, is The First Armies by James Doyne Dawson (Cassell, 25 [pounds sterling]).

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Alfred Maudslay and the Maya: A Biography by lan Graham (British Museum Press, 29.99 [pounds sterling]) closes a gap in the study of the ancient Mesoamerican civilisation, chronicling the life and work of a 19th-century archaeological pioneer and photographer.

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The study of another ancient culture is recounted in The Man Who Deciphered Linear B: The Story of Michael Ventris by Andrew Robinson (Thames and Hudson, 12.95 [pounds sterling]), the tale of the maverick and brilliant translator of the script from the palace of Minos in Crete, fifty years ago this year.

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Moving to classical antiquity, Ancient Rome/Ancient Egypt: Art, Architecture and History by Ada Gabucci/Francesco Tiradritti (British Museum Press, 9.99 [pounds sterling]) offers a chronological and fascinating approach to two of the greatest ancient cultures.

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More specifically, AD 43: The Roman Invasion of Britain by John Manley (Tempus, 17.99 [pounds sterling]) reassesses the landing site for the invasion while claiming the Romans had actually conquered the south-east of England many years earlier.

The Pyramids: Their Archaeology and History by Miroslav Verner (Atlantic, 25 [pounds sterling]) offers an informed account of the pyramids, the society that built them and their rediscovery in the last 200 years, by a distinguished Czech archaeologist.

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Taking a somewhat different focus for the study of the ancient world, Private Life in New Kingdom Egypt by Lynn Meskell (Princeton, 19.95 [pounds sterling]) discusses how ordinary people lived and died in this culture.

Uncovering another great civilisation is Greek Religion: Belief and Experience by Thomas Harrison (Duckworth, 12.99 [pounds sterling), which challenges and re-examines existing philosophical, theological and historical notions as does Greek Religion: Myths and Realities by Hans van Wees (Duckworth, 12.99 [pounds sterling]).

The sumptuously illustrated Petra by Maria Giulia Amadasi Guzzo and Eugenia Equini Schneider (University of Chicago Press, 28.50 [pounds sterling]) focuses on the ancient city, capital of the Nabatean Arabs from the third century BC.

The Archaeology and Architecture of Afghanistan by Edgar Knobloch (Tempus, 17.99 [pounds sterling]) studies a country’s cultural heritage from the pre-Islamic to the Late Islamic era.

Seeking to separate myths from facts, A Brief History of The Druids by Peter Berresford Ellis (Constable and Robinson, 7.99 [pounds sterling]) recounts the role of the mysterious cult in Celtic society.

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Avebury: The Biography of a Landscape by Joshua Pollard and Andrew Reynolds (Tempus, 16.99 [pounds sterling]) traces the development of what is now a World Heritage Site and what remains of spectacular Neolithic monuments.

Origins of the European Economy: Communications and Commerce AD 300-900 by Michael McCormick (Cambridge University Press, 40 [pounds sterling]) analyses the transition between the classical and medieval worlds in relation to European trade.

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