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Archaeology and Ancient History

It seems no work of Man's creative hand,
    By labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
    Eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!
Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
    Where erst Athena held her rites divine;
Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
    That crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;
But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
    That first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;
The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
    Which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,

Match me such marvel, save in Eastern clime,
    A rose-red city half as old as time.

-- "Petra," by Dean John William Burgon
Petra_02 (31K)
The magnificent carved facade of "the
Treasury," in the city of Petra.

The "rose-red city" of Petra in the Jordanian desert is just one of thousands of sites all over the world that record human history in all its facets, both humble and glorious. Archaeology is the study of these sites, of prehistoric and early-historic human cultures and societies. Archaeology ranges over the whole of human history, from the first development of writing over five thousand years ago up to today.

Ancient history in general

These are general books about archaeology, such as textbooks, "how-to" books, and books that discuss archaeological sites from all over the world.

  • ADVENTURE OF ARCHAEOLOGY, THE
    Author: Fagan, Brian M.
    Copyright:1985
    Publisher: NGS
    ISBN: 0-87044-603-7
    An introduction to archaeology, focusing on what makes it fun: fieldwork, exploration, and the detective work involved in figuring out how people of the past lived and worked.
  • ANCIENT MYSTERIES
    Author: Furneaux, Rupert
    Copyright:1977
    Publisher: Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 0-345-34528-2
    A survey of many of the great archaeological mysteries from around the world. Furneaux went to great lengths to collect data on a lot of mysterious finds, from well-known ones like the Pyramids of Giza to almost unknown ones like the grave found at Sutton Hoo in England. He has an unfortunate tendency to stray into pseudoscience at times, but he has some interesting thoughts and ideas in it nevertheless.
  • ARCHAEOLOGIST'S EYE, THE
    Author: Robbins, Lawrence H.
    Copyright:1990
    Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
    ISBN: 0-7090-3315-X

  • ARCHAEOLOGY: Theories, Methods, and Practice
    Author: Colin Renfrew & Paul Bahn
    Copyright:2000
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    ISBN: 0-500-28147-5

  • BUILDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD: MARVELS OF ENGINEERING
    Author:
    Copyright:1986
    Publisher: NGS
    ISBN: 0-87044-585-5
    A National Geographic Society book about ancient cities and their builders. A typical NGS book: it doesn't have as much detail as I would like, but the photography is as good as it gets.
  • DOORWAYS THROUGH TIME: The Romance of Archaeology
    Author: Bertman, Stephen
    Copyright:1986
    Publisher: Jeremy Tarcher, Inc.
    ISBN: 0-87477-622-8

  • EYEWITNESS TO DISCOVERY
    Author: Fagan, Brian M. (editor)
    Copyright:1996
    Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press
    ISBN: 0-965-57346-5

  • LAROUSSE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARCHAEOLOGY
    Author: Charles-Picard, Gilbert (editor)
    Copyright:1972
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
    ISBN: 0-600-75451-2

  • LOST CITIES OF AFRICA, THE
    Author: Davidson, Basil
    Copyright:1987
    Publisher: Back Bay Books
    ISBN: 0-316-17431-9

  • MYSTERIES OF MANKIND: EARTH'S UNEXPLAINED LANDMARKS
    Author: Various
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: NGS
    ISBN: 0-87044-864-1
    A sort of simple guide to archaeology: tools, techniques, goals, methods. MacIntosh does a good job of describing the complexity of doing archaeology right, but doesn't make it sound too overwhelming.
  • PRACTICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST, THE
    Author: MacIntosh, Jane
    Copyright:1986
    Publisher: Facts On File
    ISBN: 0-8160-1814-6
    A basic guide to field archaeology.
  • ROAD TO UBAR, THE: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands
    Author: Clapp, Nicholas
    Copyright:1998
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
    ISBN: 0-395-87596-X
    Nicholas Clapp's account of the discovery of the lost city of Ubar, the "Atlantis of the sands" which was a trade hub over a thousand years ago. Similar to Ranulph Fiennes's account (see above), but differs in some significant points.
  • SCIENCE TIMES BOOK OF ARCHAEOLOGY
    Author: Wade, Nicholas (editor)
    Copyright:1999
    Publisher: Lyons Press
    ISBN: 1-55821-893-9

  • TIME DETECTIVES
    Author: Fagan, Brian
    Copyright:1995
    Publisher: Touchstone
    ISBN: 0-684-81828-0

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Ancient Egypt

With an extensive written record that stretches back to 3000 BCE, ancient Egypt may well be the best-documented of all ancient civilizations. It was also the birthplace of modern archaeology, as explorers slowly developed the methods used by modern archaeologists to preserve and record what they found in their digs. And its hundreds of great monuments, temples, tombs, and ancient villages all concentrated along the Nile Valley provide plenty of incentive for archaeologists.

  • ANCIENT EGYPT: Its Culture and History
    Author: Manchip White, J. E.
    Copyright:1970
    Publisher: Dover Books
    ISBN: 0-486-22548-8
    A reprint of a 1952 book, this is a one-volume summary of what was known in 1952 about ancient Egyptian culture and history. Useful general reference, and the fold-out timeline is very nice.
  • ANCIENT EGYPT: THE GREAT DISCOVERIES
    Author: Reeves, Nicholas
    Copyright:2000
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    ISBN: 0-500-05105-4

  • ANCIENT EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD
    Author: Faulkner, R. O.
    Copyright:1985
    Publisher: University of Texas Press
    ISBN: 0-292-70425-9
    Ancient Egypt had a rich variety of beliefs and rituals about death, burial, and the afterlife. The Book of the Dead is a collection of those beliefs and rituals. This edition is an English translation of the original Egyptian work, based on the papyrus collection of the British Museum and richly illustrated with sections of those scrolls.
  • EGYPT: PEOPLE, GODS, PHARAOHS
    Author: Hagen, Rose-Marie & Rainer
    Copyright:2002
    Publisher: Taschen
    ISBN: 3-8228-2089-X

  • EGYPTIAN GODS AND GODDESSES: The Mythology and Beliefs of Ancient Egypt
    Author: Barrett, Clive
    Copyright:1991
    Publisher: Diamond Books
    ISBN: 0-26166-930-3
    A survey of the Egyptian gods and goddesses. Contrary to what many people think, ancient Egyptian culture recognized several different sets of gods and goddesses, which changed over time.
  • EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHIC DICTIONARY (2 volume set)
    Author: Wallis Budge, Sir E. A.
    Copyright:1978
    Publisher: Dover Books
    ISBN: 0-486-23615-3

  • EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS: How to Read and Write Them
    Author: Rossini, Stephanie
    Copyright:1989
    Publisher: Dover Books
    ISBN: 0-486-26013-5

  • EGYPTIAN MAGIC
    Author: Budge, Sir Wallis
    Copyright:1997
    Publisher: Citadel Press
    ISBN: 0-8065-0629-6
    A survey of Egyptian magic, how it was performed and how it worked. Companion to EGYPTIAN RELIGION by the same author. This book suffers a little from a slightly superior attitude on the part of the author, but is an interesting read and useful reference anyway.
  • EGYPTIAN RELIGION
    Author: Budge, Sir Wallis
    Copyright:1987
    Publisher: Citadel Press
    ISBN: 0-8065-1229-6
    A survey of Egyptian religion and gods. Companion to EGYPTIAN MAGIC by the same author. The author's superior attitude is rather more noticeable in this book than in the companion: he dismisses much of Egyptian belief as 'childish,' and also [mis]interprets Egyptian religion as a forerunner of monotheistic Christianity.
  • GODS AND SYMBOLS OF ANCIENT EGYPT
    Author: Lurker, Manfred
    Copyright:1974
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    ISBN: 0-500-27253-0

  • HISTORY OF ANCIENT EGYPT, A
    Author: Grimal, Nicolas
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Blackwell
    ISBN: 0-631-19396-0
    A one-volume compact history of the entire history of ancient Egypt, from the initial unification of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms through to the time when Egypt was finally conquered by Rome.
  • HOW TO READ EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS
    Author: Mark Collier and Bill Manley
    Copyright:1998
    Publisher: Univ of CA Press
    ISBN: 0-520-21597-4

  • LIFE IN ANCIENT EGYPT
    Author: Erman, Adolf
    Copyright:1971
    Publisher: Dover Publishing
    ISBN: 0-486-22632-8
    Reprint of a book first published in 1894.
  • LOST TOMB, THE
    Author: Weeks, Kent
    Copyright:1998
    Publisher: Wm. Morrow & Co.
    ISBN: 0-688-17224-5
    An account of the excavation of KV 5, a tomb in the Valley of the Kings where it's thought that the sons of Ramesses II were buried. KV 5 was originally uncovered in the mid-1800s, but only briefly explored because it was nearly full of cemented debris. Then it was dismissed as unimportant and forgotten for a century and a half. When Weeks and his team rediscovered it in the early 1990s, they thought it was a small tomb, only the entrance and a couple of interior chambers. However, as they cleared debris they found more and more interior rooms and passages, until it became clear that KV 5 is by far the largest and most complex tomb ever found in ancient Egypt. There is an associated website, www.kv5.com. The site includes 2-D and 3-D drawings and models of the tomb, as well as updates on the ongoing excavation and research.
  • PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT, THE
    Author: Edwards, I. E. S.
    Copyright:1993
    Publisher: Penguin
    ISBN: 0-14-013634-7
    A detailed, scholarly look at the Egyptian art of pyramid-building, from its origins in the simple stone or brick tombs called mastabas through the great pyramids of Giza and the smaller pyramids of later dynasties.
  • PYRAMIDS, THE: The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments
    Author: Verner, Miroslav
    Copyright:1997
    Publisher: Grove Press
    ISBN: 0-8021-1703-1
    Another, more recently written look at Egypt's pyramid monuments, using new information and a different point of view.
  • RAMESSES: Egypt's Greatest Pharaoh
    Author: Tyldesley, Joyce
    Copyright:2000
    Publisher: Penguin
    ISBN: 0-140-28097-9
    A history and biography of Ramesses II, aka Ramesses the Great, the Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh who was one of Egypt's greatest leaders and warriors.
  • RIDDLES OF THE SPHINX
    Author: Jordan, Paul
    Copyright:1998
    Publisher: New York University Press
    ISBN: 1-84015-017-3
    The Great Sphinx on the Giza Plateau is one of ancient Egypt's greatest and most mysterious monuments. This book is a detailed, well-illustrated look at the Sphinx, its nature, the known facts about it, and the various theories about when, how, and why it was created.
  • SECRETS OF THE PHARAOHS
    Author: McMahan, Ian
    Copyright:1998
    Publisher: Avon Books
    ISBN: 0-380-79720-8

  • TUTANKHAMEN: The Life and Death of the Boy King
    Author: el Mahdy, Christine
    Copyright:1999
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    ISBN: 0-312-26241-8

  • VALLEY OF THE KINGS: Exploring the Tombs of the Pharaohs
    Author: Romer, John
    Copyright:1981
    Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
    ISBN: 0-8050-3027-1

  • WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE ON THE BANKS OF THE NILE
    Author: Various
    Copyright:1997
    Publisher: Time-Life Books
    ISBN: 0-965-40984-8
    A look at what everyday life was like in ancient Egypt.

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Mesopotamia and the Middle East

Mesopotamia is a general name for the drainage basin of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Today, the region is split between Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. In days long ago, this area played host to more ancient civilizations and cultures than any other region of similar size on Earth, starting with the Sumerian culture of almost 3000 BCE, and including Sumeria, Babylon, Assyria, the Hittite Empire, and many more. Further, the cultures of Mesopotamia are intricately connected with those of the Eastern Mediterranean coastal regions: Greece, Persia, the Bedouins of the Arabian desert, ancient Israel, and so on.

  • ARCHAEOLOGY OF MESOPOTAMIA, THE
    Author: Lloyd, Seton
    Copyright:1978
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    ISBN: 0-500-79007-8
    A look at the archaeology of the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of Mideast civilization. The Crescent region has been continuously inhabited for more than ten thousand years, and provides one of the best records of early human civilization to be found anywhere on Earth.
  • ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE LAND OF THE BIBLE: 10,000-586 B.C.E.
    Author: Mazar, Amihai
    Copyright:1990
    Publisher: Doubleday & Co.
    ISBN: 0-385-42590-2
    A survey of the archaeology of the Middle East, especially Palestine, Israel, and Jordan, from prehistoric times to Old Testament times.
  • BIBLE AND ARCHAEOLOGY, THE
    Author: Thompson, J. A.
    Copyright:1962
    Publisher: Eerdman
    ISBN:

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The Americas

The Americas have a rich archaeological and historical heritage. While little in the way of written history has survived, the archaeological record is quite extensive and thoroughly fascinating. And, occasionally, quite mysterious.

  • ANCIENT NORTH AMERICA
    Author: Fagan, Brian M.
    Copyright:1991
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    ISBN: 0-500-27606-4
    A comprehensive survey of the prehistory of North America. There's a lot more to the pre-European history of North America than most people know. The great civilizations of Central America get most of the press, and most of what's left goes to the desert peoples of the American Southwest like the Anasazi and Navajo. But there were some very powerful, very interesting tribes in eastern and central North America too, like the Southern Cult culture that constructed Cahokia, a city of some thirty thousand people near what is now St. Louis.
  • ARCHAEOLOGY OF ANCIENT ARIZONA
    Author: Reid & Whittlesey
    Copyright:1997
    Publisher: Univ of Arizona Press
    ISBN: 0-8165-1709-6

  • ARCHAEOLOGY OF NORTH AMERICA
    Author: Snow, Dean
    Copyright:1976
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    ISBN: 0-500-27183-6
    Another survey of North American archaeology. This one is a textbook, so it takes a different approach from ANCIENT NORTH AMERICA (above).
  • BOOK OF THE NAVAJO
    Author: Locke, Raymond Friday
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Mankind Publishing
    ISBN: 0-87687-406-5
    A collection of archaeological and anthropological information about the Southwestern tribe called the Navajo, though they should properly be called the Dineh.
  • CAHOKIA: The Great Native American Metropolis
    Author: Biloine Young and Melvin Fowler
    Copyright:2000
    Publisher: Univ of Illinois Press
    ISBN: 0-252-06821-1

  • CODE OF KINGS, THE: The Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs
    Author: Linda Schele and Peter Mathews
    Copyright:1998
    Publisher: Touchstone Books
    ISBN: 0-684-85209-8

  • EARLY MAN IN AMERICA: Readings From Scientific American
    Author: MacNeish, Richard (intro)
    Copyright:1973
    Publisher: WH Freeman & Co.
    ISBN: 0-7167-0863-9
    A collection of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN articles dealing with some of the oldest known human inhabitants of the Americas.
  • EXPLORING ANCIENT NATIVE AMERICA: An Archaeological Guide
    Author: Thomas, David Hurst
    Copyright:1994
    Publisher: MacMillan Books
    ISBN: 0-671-88050-0

  • FOUR CORNERS: History, Land, and People of the Desert Southwest
    Author: Brown, Kenneth A.
    Copyright:1995
    Publisher: HarperPerennial
    ISBN: 0-06-092759-3
    A survey of the peoples and cultures of the Four Corners area of the American Southwest. "Four Corners" is the name given to the place where the four states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. Peoples of the Four Corners region include the Pueblo Amerinds, the Navajo, the Anasazi, the Hopi, and several smaller tribes.
  • HIDDEN CITIES: The Discovery and Loss of Ancient North American Civilization
    Author: Kennedy, Roger G.
    Copyright:1994
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0-14-025527-3

  • MAYA: The Riddle and Rediscovery of a Lost Civilization
    Author: Gallenkamp, Charles
    Copyright:1987
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0-14-008831-8

  • MOUND BUILDERS, THE
    Author: Silverberg, Robert
    Copyright:1970
    Publisher: Ohio Univ. Press
    ISBN: 0-8214-0839-9
    The story of the Moundbuilder cultures of east-central North America. between roughly about 1000AD and 1600AD, a number of relatively advanced Amerind tribes inhabited the region between the Mississippi River and the Appalachian Mountains. They left behind huge earthworks, effigies in dirt, roads, burial mounds, and many artifacts, but no written records, which makes figuring out their culture much more difficult. This book is one attempt at doing exactly that, while at the same time discrediting some very biased books on the "mysterious Moundbuilders" written in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
  • NEW WORLD ARCHAEOLOGY
    Author: Various
    Copyright:1974
    Publisher: WH Freeman & Co.
    ISBN: 0-7167-0503-6
    A collection of articles from SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN about archaeology of the New World. Includes some duplicates of articles from EARLY MAN IN AMERICA.
  • OHIO'S INDIAN PAST
    Author: Hothem, Lar
    Copyright:1996
    Publisher: Hothem House
    ISBN: 0-9617041-7-9
    A look at the archaeological record of the various tribes that have inhabited Ohio over the centuries.
  • PEOPLE OF THE TONTO RIM: Archaeological Discovery in Prehistoric Arizona
    Author: Redman, Charles L.
    Copyright:1993
    Publisher: Smithsonian Institute
    ISBN: 1-56098-192-X

  • PYRAMIDS OF TUCUME: The Quest for Peru's Forgotten City
    Author: Heyerdahl, Thor
    Copyright:1995
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    ISBN: 0-500-05076-7

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Other archeological sites from around the world

Archaeology isn't limited to a few places or periods in history. There are interesting archaeological sites and stories to be found all over the world, from monolithic monuments like Stonehenge to the mysterious stone cities of Africa.

  • ATLANTIS OF THE SANDS: The Search for the Lost City of Ubar
    Author: Fiennes, Ranulph
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    ISBN: 0-7475-1327-9
    Ranulph Fiennes's account of searching for the lost city of Ubar in the "Empty Quarter" of the Arabian desert. The ancient Greek scientist and geographer Ptolemy knew of Ubar as a city on the frankincense trade route, somewhere inland from the coast. But between his time and now, it was abandoned and lost to history. A few years ago, an expedition was organized to try to find Ubar. This is one account of that expedition.
  • CITIES IN THE SAND
    Author: Menen, Aubrey
    Copyright:1972
    Publisher: Dial Press
    ISBN:

  • HUNTERS, FARMERS, AND CIVILIZATIONS: Old World Archaeology
    Author: Various
    Copyright:1979
    Publisher: WH Freeman & Co.
    ISBN: 0-7167-1074-9

  • LIFE AND DEATH OF A DRUID PRINCE, THE
    Author: Ross, Anne and Robins, Don
    Copyright:1989
    Publisher: Touchstone
    ISBN: 0-671-74122-5
    The story of 'Lindow Man,' a man's body found in Lindow Moss that was apparently the victim of a sacrificial murder in the first century A.D.
  • LOST CIVILIZATIONS OF THE STONE AGE
    Author: Rudgley, Richard
    Copyright:1998
    Publisher: Random House
    ISBN: 0-09-922372-4

  • MINOTAUR: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth
    Author: MacGillivray, Joseph Alexander
    Copyright:2000
    Publisher: Hill and Wang
    ISBN: 0-8090-3035-7

  • ON STONEHENGE
    Author: Hoyle, Fred
    Copyright:1977
    Publisher: W.H. Freeman
    ISBN: 0-7167-0363-7

  • STONEHENGE DECODED
    Author: Hawkins, Gerald
    Copyright:1965
    Publisher:
    ISBN:

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