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The Great Archaeologists

Brian Fagan


A history of archaeology, told as biographies of the excavators and decipherers who revealed buried cities, lost civilizations and forgotten scripts to the modern world

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Brian Fagan has assembled a team of some of the world’s greatest living archaeologists to write knowledgeably and entertainingly about their distinguished predecessors. Full of fascinating anecdotes, personal accounts and unexpected insights, this comprehensively illustrated book encompasses more than two centuries of research and excavation round the globe.

Controversial figures such as Heinrich Schliemann of Troy fame, and Aurel Stein, plunderer of ancient manuscripts from Central Asia, are reassessed. Little-known pioneers – for example, Max Uhle in Peru and Li Chi in China – are set beside the giants in the field: Lepsius, Mariette and Carter in Egypt; Koldewey, Dörpfeld and Woolley in the Near East; Stephens and Catherwood, discoverers of the Maya of Mexico; and Louis and Mary Leakey, who transformed knowledge of our African ancestry. Other indomitable women here include Gertrude Bell, explorer of Arabia and Iraq, Kathleen Kenyon, the excavator of Jericho, and the script-decipherer Tatiana Proskouriakoff.

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'A compelling range of brilliance, imagination and eccentricity, conveying not just a sense of what being an archaeologist involves, but of how much archaeology has achieved as a contribution to human understanding. As well as in the design and image selection that make this book a pleasure to hold, it strength lies in its writers'
British Archaeology

'Whether you are interested in the desert romance of Ur of the Chaldees or the recreation of Viking ships in Roskilde, this gloriously illustrated book is one to savour'

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 24.6 x 18.6 cm

Extent: 304 pp

Illustrations: 201

Publication date: 1 September 2014

ISBN: 9780500051818

Contents List

The Antiquity of Humankid • Discoverers of Ancient Civilizations • The Art of Excavation • Decipherers of Ancient Scripts • Discovering World Prehistory • Thinking about the Past • Maps • Contributors • Further Reading • Sources of Illustrations • Index

About the Author

List of Contributors

Brian Fagan