The Great Archaeologists takes the reader on a journey from the first attempt to establish just how ancient the “ancient past” really was, through the revelatory discovery of lost civilizations and unknown cultures, right up to today’s search for explanations about the past.
We meet Thomsen and Worsaae, Danish researchers and rivals, and Sanz de Sautuola and Abbé Breuil, who astonished the world with their discoveries of cave art. Controversial figures such as Heinrich Schliemann and the Hungarian Aurel Stein, plunderer of ancient manuscripts from Central Asia, are given new assessments. Little-known pioneers such as Max Uhle in Peru and Li Chi in China are set beside the giants in the field—from Koldewey, Dörpfeld, and Woolley in the Near East, to Louis and Mary Leakey, who transformed knowledge of our African ancestry. Other indomitable women include Gertrude Bell, Kathleen Kenyon, and the script-decipherer Tatiana Proskouriakoff.
Brian Fagan has assembled a team of some of the world’s greatest living archaeologists to write knowledgeably and entertainingly about their distinguished predecessors in this handsome volume, full of fascinating anecdotes, personal accounts, and unexpected insights.
Unique in not only its scope, but also its presentation of varying personal fortunes and unique contributions to the field.
— Ancient History Encyclopedia
Accessible and often entertaining…Offers a useful overview of the development of archaeology…Recommended.
The Great Archaeologists presents an incomparable survey of the discipline.
Brian M. Fagan
Brian Fagan is Emeritus Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His many books include The First North Americans, Discovery!, and The Complete Ice Age.