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The Middle East

The Cradle of Civilization

Stephen Bourke


A generously illustrated historical survey of a fascinating region, now available in a new format


The Middle East: The Cradle of Civilization synthesizes the latest research and information from a range of disciplines to tell the compelling story, from the Neolithic period through to the Arab conquest, of how a group of linguistically disparate, nomadic tribes responded to specific social, economic and environmental factors to form the world’s first complex societies.

This is an authoritative, detailed and accessible story, divided into six easily navigable parts arranged chronologically, and then into chapters exploring the history, religion, political and social organization, art, science and architecture of the peoples of the region. The text is illustrated with more than 500 superb full colour images – artifacts, artworks, statues, reliefs, buildings and landscapes – as well as six detailed maps, which bring the region’s dramatic past vividly to life.

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'Expert text, generous design and shrewdly arranged pictures add up to the kind of accessibly erudite package that Thames & Hudson does so peerlessly'

'Sumptuously produced … a wonderful and enjoyable home reference and study aid … Thames & Hudson render a real service to the general public'
Historical Association

'A well-illustrated, informed introduction served in bite-size chunks'
Arab Weekly

'Extraordinarily informative … a must-read'
Timeless Travels

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 25.4 x 20.3 cm

Extent: 368 pp

Publication date: 23 August 2018

ISBN: 9780500294451

Contents List

Introduction the Middle East • The Fertile Crescent: Birthplace of Agriculture • Mesopotamia: The Cradle of Civilization • Power Struggles: Kingdoms at War • Masters of the Known World: The Age of Empires • Under Occupation: Hellenistic and Roman Conquerors • Search for Origins: The Rediscovery of the Middle East

About the Author

Dr Stephen Bourke is Research Associate at the University of Sydney. He currently directs Sydney University excavations at Pella in Jordan, and has written or contributed to over 70 archaeological publications over the last 35 years.

List of Contributors

Maree Browne, Professor Mark W. Chavalas, Dr Kate da Costa, Dr Peter Edwell, Dr Yosef Garfinkel, Dr Leore Grosman, Dr Lloyd Llewelyn-Jones, Dr Kevin M. McGeough, Dr Karen Radner, Dr Seth Richardson, Dr Sandra Scham, Dr Gonen Sharon, Dr Matt Waters

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