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The Seventy Great Mysteries Of The Ancient World: Unlocking The Secrets Of Past Civilizations

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Product Details

  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publishing date: 10/2001
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780500510506
  • ISBN: 0500510504


King Arthur and the Holy Grail, the lost tomb of Alexander the Great, ancient scripts, and the story of Atlantis: the human past is full of unsolved mysteries. The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Ancient World draws on modern science and the latest research to explore some of archaeology's most baffling controversies and enigmas, from our origins and evolution to the mysterious collapse of once-powerful civilizations. Leading authorities discuss the key questions, beginning with the truth behind myths and legends. Was there ever a Garden of Eden? Did the flood in Genesis actually occur? What became of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel? And what is the significance of the Aboriginal Dreamtime? The book then examines mysteries of the Stone Age: the beginnings of language, the fate of the Neanderthals, and the meaning of cave paintings. The enigma of the European megaliths is addressed, and the question of whether there was ever a mother goddess cult. The ancient civilizations present equally fascinating puzzles: were the Egyptians black Africans, and how did Tutankhamun die? And mysteries are found in all parts of the globe: did the Olmecs originate in Africa, were the Bog People of northern Europe murder victims, why did the Incas sacrifice children, and what was the purpose of the world-famous Nazca lines? The book pays close attention to puzzling sepulchers like Tomb 55 in Egypt's Valley of the Kings—possibly the pharaoh Akhenaten's burial place—and to undeciphered scripts, from Cretan Linear A to Etruscan, runes, and rongorongo. Finally, it examines the controversies surrounding the collapse of such civilizations as the Minoan, the Maya, and the Moche of lowland Peru. Packed with diagrams, photographs, plans, and maps, The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Ancient World is a unique guide to some of the most contentious issues of the human past, offering a completely up-to-date account of mysteries that fascinate us all. 431 illustrations, 177 in color.

With contributions by: Christopher Chippindale
• Richard Diehl
• Aidan Dodson
• Esther Eidinow
• Carol Ellick
• Brian M. Fagan
• Kenneth Feder
• Roberta Harris
• John Haywood
• Charles Higham
• Mark Humphries
• Lawrence Keppie
• David Lewis-Williams
• James Mallory
• Simon Martin
• Steven Mithen
• Michael Molnar
• Colin Pardoe
• Konstantinos Politis
• Andrew Robinson
• Chris Scarre
• Ian Shaw
• Christopher Snyder
• Charles Stanish
• James Strange
• Jo Anne Van Tilburg
• Richard Townsend
• Roger Wilson

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  • Fascinating look at the mysteries of humanity's past.
    From Amazon

    This well organized, informative and concise volume offers a clearly written collection of essays on seventy of man's most famous historical enigmas and archaeological mysteries, from humanity's origin to the disappearance of mighty empires.
    Each controversy is carefully detailed in a short entry of two to five pages long that explains all that is presently known about each topic drawing on the latest discoveries made through modern science and archaeological research. Each puzzling subject is presented in the manner of a question, followed by basic information that includes dates, facts, stories, scientific research, current level of knowledge, and theories to possible solutions. Moreover, for quick check-ups, each enigma is accurately placed in one of the six categories into which the book is divided: Myths & Legends; Mysteries of the Stone Age; Ancient Civilizations; Tombs & Lost Treasures; Ancient & Undeciphered Scripts; and The Fall of Civilizations.
    This reference is handsomely presented in a sturdy binding, printed in top-quality paper, and beautifully illustrated with over 400 spectacular photos, explanatory diagrams and detailed historical drawings.
    Featured among the showcased selection are King Arthur and the Holy Grail, Stonehenge, the Riddle of the Sphinx, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Etruscan Alphabet, the Trojan War, and the Collapse of the Maya. The rest of the subjects included are equal examples of real controversies, unsolved mysteries and baffling enigmas of humanity's past. No paranormal or supernatural phenomena are presented or considered as possible theories to the solution of any controversy.
    As a bonus, the book includes a preface that explains the criteria used to pick the selected topics, and an introduction that gives us an overview of how science and research shed light into finding satisfactory answers to these historical questions. Also included are a comprehensive bibliography and list of illustrations, especially useful for further research, and a thorough index for specific consultations.
    This is a fact-filled compendium that readers of all ages will undoubtedly refer to again and again.
    --Reviewed by Maritza Volmar

  • Superficial sweeping ...
    From Amazon

    It is a good coffee table book. If you really want to learn, then this book is not for is merely a diving board to propel you to more serious, detailed writings. It is a brief reference, which if used for this purpose, is not bad at all.

  • A good starting point
    From Amazon

    More of an encyclopedia of short entries concerning unsolved historical/archaeological mysteries than anything else, this book nonetheless provides enough general information to initiate those new to these ongoing debates. It also works well for people like me, who have read endlessly about some of these topics but sometimes need to look up a generality or a name associated with a particular subject. Most of the entries are concise and informative enough to provoke further reading, and the writing style is engaging and maintains interest. It covers most of the basic subjects (the development of language and writing, the Pyramids and the Sphinx, Atlantis) and a few more "obscure" ones: The Land of Punt, Mithraism, Tiwanaku (from my experience, these seem to come up short in other, similar books). (From here, one might look to "Ancient Mysteries" by James and Thorpe, which offers fewer topics but is incredibly well-researched and detailed). Good work.

  • Fascinating Read
    From Amazon

    I have always enjoyed books about mysterious events of the past, unknown civilizations, strange happenings, etc. This book is full of such items. The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Ancient World looks at some of these mysteries through the eyes of modern archaeology and other sciences to try to resolve at least some of the questions surrounding them. Each item is subjected to a scientific analysis of the knowledge that we have obtained to date. Generally, the situation ends up being exactly what it has been in the past... an unresolved mystery.
    Lavishly illustrated, it is written in a conversational style that is easy to read and understand. Logically divided into appropriate sections it starts with Myths and Legends, moves to Mysteries of the Stone Age, then to Ancient Civilizations, Tombs and Lost Treasures, Ancient and Undeciphered Scripts and the Fall of Civilizations. The only thing that I did not like about the book was the short treatment of each item. With seventy chapters (one for each of the mysteries) and roughly 300 pages that is only an average of four pages per mystery. However, at the back of the book is an extensive listing of references to consult for further information on each of the items. For those who like a complete synopsis of each mystery and the current level of knowledge this is excellent. A fascinating book, it covered not only the mysteries that I was aware of but also many that I had never heard of before. If there is one book that I would suggest to gain a basic knowledge of the greatest mysteries of the Ancient World then this one would be it.

  • Spotty
    From Amazon

    This ambitious tome compiles a compendium of surveys about many sometimes contentious topics, mostly from ancient history. A large number of scholars contributed in most cases one of the articles. Therein lies its shortcoming. While that would seem to insure that an "expert" provided the information about each topic, it also leaves the reader with a mixed bag of quality. Some of them are excellent, well researched, even handed and objective. Others are "party line" propaganda that ignore evidence to the contrary. None of it is wild eyed, new age [stuff], though, so it has that much going for it. It's a worthwhile buy as a basic list, but a scholarly reader should use it as a starting point for further research rather than the final word.

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