Book Review: Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam

Venetia Porter (ed.) British Museum Press, £25.00 ISBN 978-0714111759 Drawing on a recent British Museum exhibition of the same name, this beautifully illustrated catalogue contains stunning photographs of artefacts, sites, and artwork associated with the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, as well as a wealth of information on the evolution of the Hajj and the lives of […]


Book Review: Violence, Ritual, and the Wari Empire

Tiffiny A. Tung University Press of Florida, £64.50 ISBN 978-0813037677 Between AD 600-1000, the Wari Empire represented one of the first politically centralised states in the New World. This study reveals the biological and social impact of the military aggression on which this power was founded, with groundbreaking DNA and osteological data shedding light on […]


Book Review: The Archaeology of Northeast China: beyond the Great Wall

Sara Milledge Nelson Routledge, £26.00 ISBN 978-0415513472 Elegantly illustrated and admirably comprehensive in its scope, this synthesis of recent archaeological research into the prehistoric peoples of Donbei – best known in the west as Manchuria – sheds new light on a region rather less discussed than the civilisations of central China. Nelson’s introduction, contrasting the […]


Book Review: Cracking the Egyptian Code

Andrew Robinson Thames & Hudson, £19.95 ISBN 978-0500051719 In 1922 Howard Carter could be confident that he had found Tutankhamun’s tomb, but when Giovanni Belzoni discovered the tomb of Seti I in 1817, the pharaoh was initially misidentified as ‘Psammis’. The difference was that in Belzoni’s day nobody could read hieroglyphs; this knowledge had faded […]


Review: Hajj

Following the success of the British Museum’s recent exhibition Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, Nadia Durrani was intrigued to find out more about Britain’s first pilgrims to the holy shrine at Mecca. Who were they, and what were their experiences?

Book Reviews

Book Review: Traveling the Silk Road: ancient pathway to the modern world

Mark Norell, Denise Patry Leidy, and Laura Ross Sterling Publishing, £27.99 The Silk Road was no single path but a vast network of trade routes stretching over 4,000 miles. Those who travelled its branches spread exotic goods, religious ideas, game-changing technical innovations and, probably, the Black Death. This lively new publication documents the history and […]

Book Review

Book Review: Becoming European: the transformation of third millennium Northern and Western Europe

Christopher Prescott and Håkon Glørstad Oxbow, £35 When did Europe become Europe? This ambitious question is posed by Christopher Prescott and Håkon Glørstad in their introduction to this new collection of papers searching for the origins of a distinctive ‘pan-European personhood’ in the 3rd millennium BC. A comprehensive and far-reaching anthology, it seeks to identify the […]

Book Review

Book Review: Pompeii in the Public Imagination: from its rediscovery to today

Shelley Hales and Joanna Paul (eds) Oxford University Press, £80 Walter Scott called it a ‘City of the Dead’. To Goethe it was a ‘mummified town’. Part mausoleum, part museum, Pompeii’s timeless ruins have fascinated visitors since their rediscovery over 250 years ago, providing inspiration to students of Classical art who have sought to resurrect […]


Book Review: The Man Who Deciphered Linear B

Andrew Robinson Thames & Hudson, £8.95 Half a millennium before Homer described ‘Crete, set in the wine-dark sea’, its inhabitants used a mysterious alphabet that baffled archaeologists. Linear B was discovered during Arthur Evans’ Knossos excavations (for the full story, see CWA 51, Great Excavations’) but for over 50 years the inscriptions remained unreadable. At […]

Book review: Photography and Archaeology

Frederick N Bohrer Reaktion Books Ltd, £17.95 Before photography, archaeologists hired ‘tracers’ to copy inscriptions and record finds by hand. Howard Carter himself first entered archaeology through this route, having trained as an artist. But once the camera became a regular feature on site, the art of documenting excavations changed forever. Frederick Bohrer’s insightful new […]

Egypt: James Henry Breasted

He founded the Oriental Institute in Chicago, was the first American to achieve a doctorate in Egyptology, and his book is an enduring classic a century later. Yet few today even know his name. Here, Andrew Robinson reviews a new biography that should bring James Henry Breasted the recognition he deserves. James Henry Breasted has […]

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