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How to identify some good works on Archaeology

Post by: Kabita Sonowal

To an aficionado of archaeology and for a good archaeology read, the first book that comes to mind is Agatha Christie’s Come, Tell Me How You Live. In her own words, she said that it was not meant to be taken seriously. She said that it was a ‘light-hearted and frivolous’ read and that she meant to relive the ‘poignant remembrance of our days in Arpachiyah and Syria’; however it also set an interest in archaeology among children in several parts of the world. To begin with, it was a sort of memoir that she wrote of her travel across the Middle East with her archaeologist husband Max Mallowan. Although this book is not completely archaeology-driven, it does capture the life and times of the Middle East those days. It is also a record of mundane experiences and her interest in the places in which she lived.

 

 

Journeying India-bound, Letters from a Father to his Daughter by Pandit Nehru to Indira Gandhi are a delightful read. It is a collection of letters that he wrote from prison to his daughter who was then ten years old. His words illustrated a vivid world of ancient civilizations from the land of the Fertile Crescent, the Byzantium world encapsulating Greece and Rome and several other parts of the Mediterranean, China, Egypt, South America to the Indus Valley Civilization. It is also a reflection of a mind who could view the world from the mind of a ten-year old and who showed a lot of fondness for humanity at large.

 

 

The Afghan Campaign by Steven Pressfield is based on Alexander’s invasion of Afghanistan. Narrated by Matthias from the Macedonian army, he speaks of the courage of the Afghan warriors of those days and the futility of deaths and killings. Stonehenge: The Secret of the Solstice by Terrence Meaden poses several questions about how and why Stonehenge came into being. It is a rich assimilation of history, archaeology, and science.

 

 

William Dalrymple’s From the Holy Mountain is a wonderful read on his travels across the Middle East with a vivid description of the past, archaeology, and architecture. Some these books are great to begin with and then one mustn’t miss out on The Mummy Congress by Heather Pringle, Moche Portraits from Ancient Peru by Christopher Donnan, and The Maritime Heritage of the Cayman Islands by Roger C. Smith. However the list doesn’t end here; there is an entire world to cover.




 

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