From Stonehenge to Samarkand: An Anthology of Archaeological Travel Writing

From Stonehenge to Samarkand: An Anthology of Archaeological Travel Writing

Hardback

By (author) Brian Fagan

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 177mm x 242mm x 28mm | 707g
  • Publication date: 20 July 2006
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195160916
  • ISBN 13: 9780195160918
  • Illustrations note: Numerous halftones, maps
  • Sales rank: 1,104,008

Product description

Ever since Roman tourists scratched graffiti on the pyramids and temples of Egypt over two thousand years ago, people have travelled far and wide seeking the great wonders of antiquity. In From Stonehenge to Samarkand, noted archaeologist and popular writer Brian Fagan offers an engaging historical account of our enduring love of ancient architecture-the irresistible impulse to visit strange lands in search of lost cities and forgotten monuments. Here is a marvellous history of archaeological tourism, with generous excerpts from the writings of the tourists themselves. Readers will find Herodotus describing the construction of Babylon; Edward Gibbon receiving inspiration for his seminal work while wandering through the ruins of the Forum in Rome; Gustave Flaubert watching the sunrise from atop the Pyramid of Cheops. We visit Easter Island with Pierre Loti, Machu Picchu with Hiram Bingham, Central Africa with David Livingstone. Fagan describes the early antiquarians, consumed with a passionate and omnivorous curiosity, pondering the mysteries of Stonehenge, but he also considers some of the less reputable figures, such as the Earl of Elgin, who sold large parts of the Parthenon to the British Museum. Finally, he discusses the changing nature of archaeological tourism, from the early romantic wanderings of the solitary figure, communing with the departed spirits of Druids or Mayans, to the cruise-ship excursions of modern times, where masses of tourists are hustled through ruins, barely aware of their surroundings. From the Holy Land to the Silk Road, the Yucatan to Angkor Wat, Fagan follows in the footsteps of the great archaeological travellers to retrieve their first written impressions in a book that will delight anyone fascinated with the landmarks of ancient civilization.

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Author information

Brian Fagan is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and one of the world's leading archaeological writers and an internationally recognized authority on world prehistory. His many books include The Rape of the Nile, Chaco Canyon, The Long Summer, and TheLittle Ice Age.

Review quote

all travellers who share a fascination with ancient ruins will enjoy it. Michael Kerr, Daily Telegraph