Introduced by John Romer
A treasure trove of archaeological wonder: C. W. Ceram’s infectiously enthusiastic volume is an enduring classic.
‘My aim was to portray the dramatic qualities of archaeology, its human side.’ From Pompeii to the Rosetta Stone and from Nineveh to Chichén-Itzá, this hugely influential book was the first to tell the story of archaeology. First published in German in 1949, it was translated into 26 languages and became an international bestseller. More than any other book, it helped stoke a passion for archaeology in the imagination of the post-war world, and remains one of the world’s most widely read books on the subject.
C. W. Ceram was the pseudonym of a Hamburg-based journalist, Kurt W. Marek, who combined an encyclopaedic knowledge of his subject with a gift for storytelling. Ceram tells us that ‘the great Palace of Minos was as large as Buckingham Palace’, that the bronze statues of Pompeii ‘rang like bells’ when they were first struck by the workmen’s shovels, and describes how our modern superstition about a black cat crossing our path stems from ancient Babylon.
In his introduction, Egyptologist John Romer explains how his love of archaeology was first inspired by reading Gods, Graves and Scholars as a young man on the London Underground. This edition contains three 16-page sections of colour and black-and-white photographs, as well as 5 maps of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Nile Valley, Mesopotamia, Mexico and Yucatan, and Asia Minor. The binding and endpapers are printed with a motif depicting Assyrian archers.
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