Books

Goddess & the Bull:Catalhoyuk

‘On a cold day in 1958’ writes Michael Balter ‘the history of archaeology, and of our understanding of our own origins, was changed forever’. It was on that day in 1958, that archaeologist James Mellaart discovered one of the world’s oldest towns, Turkey’s Çatalhöyük. And thus began an archaeological odyssey into the origins of civilisation […]

Alexander

Oliver Stone’s new epic Alexander has hit the headlines. The New York Post has labelled it ‘Alexander the Gay’, and US Christians thinking of going to see it have been advised to ‘speak to your pastors immediately because Satan is attempting to enter your mind’. Greek nationalists have been fuming. How could the greatest hero […]

Temple of Jerusalem

The Temple of Jerusalem is one of the most important non-existing buildings in the world. Just what was it and why was it important? In a slim volume, The Temple of Jerusalem (Profile books, £15.99), Simon Goldhill, Professor of Greek Literature and Culture at Cambridge, looks at the temple in three different stages. The first […]

Roman Remains of Northern & Eastern France

The Roman remains of Northern and Eastern France: A Guide Book by James Romwich published by Routledge (£75) is an admirable book apart from its rather ridiculous price. It covers an area hinging on Lyons, covering Lyons itself, and Paris to the west and Grenoble to the south. It is very much along the lines […]

Egyptology Books Round-Up

The publication of eight books simultaneously is a major event and eight books have recently been published by University College London (UCL) Press on Egyptology. However, these are not like any previous books on Egyptology, and it is tempting to say that they tell us more about UCL and its Director, Peter Ucko, than they […]

Landscapes for the World

The system of World Heritage Sites has been one of the great successes of UNESCO. Everyone seems to be in favour of them: local inhabitants and national governments alike see a World Heritage Site as adding enormously to their prestige. Tourist organisations love them for providing a cast iron reason for including them on their […]

Unearthing Gotham

Where is Gotham? Apparently it is New York, the place where Batman lives, and Unearthing Gotham: The Archaeology of New York City by Anna-Marie Cantwell and Diana diZerega Wall, (Yale University Press, paperback £12.95) provides a fascinating account of a city where one would not expect to find much archaeology. The story divides into two […]

Aurel Stein on the Silk Road

Sir Aurel Stein is one of the least known of the Great British Archaeological explorers of the earlier 20th century. He was, in fact, a Hungarian Jew, born in Budapest in 1862, though his parents prudently had him baptized into the Lutheran Church. After studying Sanskrit at Vienna, Old Persian at Tubingen, and Punjabi at […]

Atlas of World Art

Atlas of World Art John Onions, Laurence King Publishing, £75 How far is it possible to talk of ‘world’ art? John Onions, Professor of Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, clearly thinks that it is possible, and in the Atlas of World Art he has produced a work that is full of provocative […]

Tales from Ancient Egypt

Tales from Ancient Egypt Joyce Tyldesley, Rutherford Press, £8.50 In the beginning nothing existed but the terrible, swirling waters of chaos. There was no land and there was no sky. No gods, no people, no light, no warmth, no time and no death. Only the dangerous, endless waters. But deep within that dark sea there […]

Chinese Silk

Silk is one of the more complex luxuries. It is not just a matter of cultivating silk worms – it is also essential to cultivate the mulberry leaves on which they feed. You then set up a series of racks containing trays covered with mulberry leaves on which the silk worms feast. You then extract […]

Ancient Olympics

The Ancient Olympics Nigel Spivey, OUP £16.99 In the Greek hoplite army, every citizen was expected to be a soldier; your national service lasted for life and thus it became your civic duty to keep fit. From this sprang the Greek obsession with the body beautiful. There was no point in having a beautiful mind […]

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