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A bold reassessment of what caused the Late Bronze Age collapse
In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh's army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C., which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist, along with writing systems, technology, and monumental architecture. But the Sea Peoples alone could not have caused such widespread breakdown. How did it happen?
In this major new account of the causes of this "First Dark Ages," Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted centuries.
A compelling combination of narrative and the latest scholarship, 1177 B.C. sheds new light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and ultimately destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age—and that set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece.
Eric H. Cline uses the tools of his trade to examine some of the most puzzling mysteries from the Hebrew Bible and, in the process, to narrate the history of ancient Israel. Combining the academic rigor that has won the respect of his peers with an accessible style that has made him a favorite with readers and students alike, he lays out each mystery, evaluates all available evidence—from established fact to arguable assumption to far-fetched leap of faith—and proposes an explanation that reconciles Scripture, science, and history.
Numerous amateur archaeologists have sought some trace of Noah's Ark to meet only with failure. But, though no serious scholar would undertake such a literal search, many agree that the Flood was no myth but the cultural memory of a real, catastrophic inundation, retold and reshaped over countless generations. Likewise, some experts suggest that Joshua's storied victory at Jericho is the distant echo of an earthquake instead of Israel's sacred trumpets—a fascinating, geologically plausible theory that remains unproven despite the best efforts of scientific research.
Cline places these and other Biblical stories in solid archaeological and historical context, debunks more than a few lunatic-fringe fantasies, and reserves judgment on ideas that cannot yet be confirmed or denied. Along the way, our most informed understanding of ancient Israel comes alive with dramatic but accurate detail in this groundbreaking, engrossing, entertaining book by one of the rising stars in the field.
From the bestselling author of 1177 B.C., a comprehensive history of archaeology—from its amateur beginnings to the cutting-edge science it is today
In 1922, Howard Carter peered into Tutankhamun’s tomb for the first time, the only light coming from the candle in his outstretched hand. Urged to tell what he was seeing through the small opening he had cut in the door to the tomb, the Egyptologist famously replied, “I see wonderful things.” Carter’s fabulous discovery is just one of the many spellbinding stories told in Three Stones Make a Wall. Written by Eric Cline, an archaeologist with more than thirty seasons of excavation experience, this book traces the history of archaeology from an amateur pursuit to the cutting-edge science it is today by taking the reader on a tour of major archaeological sites and discoveries. Along the way, it addresses the questions archaeologists are asked most often: How do you know where to dig? How are excavations actually done? How do you know how old something is? Who gets to keep what is found? Taking readers from the pioneering digs of the eighteenth century to today’s exciting new discoveries, Three Stones Make a Wall is a lively and essential introduction to the story of archaeology.
Combining archaeological data and textual analysis of ancient documents, this Very Short Introduction considers whether or not the war actually took place and whether archaeologists have really discovered the site of ancient Troy. To answer these questions, archaeologist and ancient historian Eric H. Cline examines various written sources, including the works of Homer, the Epic Cycle (fragments from other, now-lost Greek epics), classical plays, and Virgil's Aeneid. Throughout, the author tests the literary claims against the best modern archaeological evidence, showing for instance that Homer, who lived in the Iron Age, for the most part depicted Bronze Age warfare with accuracy. Cline also tells the engaging story of the archaeologists--Heinrich Schliemann and his successors Wilhelm Dörpfeld, Carl Blegen, and Manfred Korfmann--who found the long-vanished site of Troy through excavations at Hisarlik, Turkey.
Drawing on evidence found at Hisarlik and elsewhere, Cline concludes that a war or wars in the vicinity of Troy probably did take place during the Late Bronze Age, forming the nucleus of a story that was handed down orally for centuries until put into final form by Homer. But Cline suggests that, even allowing that a Trojan War took place, it probably was not fought because of Helen's abduction, though such an incident may have provided the justification for a war actually fought for more compelling economic and political motives.
About the Series:
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
Divided into four sections, the handbook begins with Background and Definitions, which contains articles establishing the discipline in its historical, geographical, and chronological settings and in its relation to other disciplines. The second section, Chronology and Geography, contains articles examining the Bronze Age Aegean by chronological period (Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age). Each of the periods are further subdivided geographically, so that individual articles are concerned with Mainland Greece during the Early Bronze Age, Crete during the Early Bronze Age, the Cycladic Islands during the Early Bronze Age, and the same for the Middle Bronze Age, followed by the Late Bronze Age. The third section, Thematic and Specific Topics, includes articles examining thematic topics that cannot be done justice in a strictly chronological/geographical treatment, including religion, state and society, trade, warfare, pottery, writing, and burial customs, as well as specific events, such as the eruption of Santorini and the Trojan War. The fourth section, Specific Sites and Areas, contains articles examining the most important regions and sites in the Bronze Age Aegean, including Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, Knossos, Kommos, Rhodes, the northern Aegean, and the Uluburun shipwreck, as well as adjacent areas such as the Levant, Egypt, and the western Mediterranean.
Containing new work by an international team of experts, The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean represents the most comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date single-volume survey of the field. It will be indispensable for scholars and advanced students alike.
A vivid portrait of the early years of biblical archaeology from the acclaimed author of 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed
In 1925, James Henry Breasted, famed Egyptologist and director of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, sent a team of archaeologists to the Holy Land to excavate the ancient site of Megiddo—Armageddon in the New Testament—which the Bible says was fortified by King Solomon. Their excavations made headlines around the world and shed light on one of the most legendary cities of biblical times, yet little has been written about what happened behind the scenes. Digging Up Armageddon brings to life one of the most important archaeological expeditions ever undertaken, describing the site and what was found there, including discoveries of gold and ivory, and providing an up-close look at the internal workings of a dig in the early years of biblical archaeology.
The Chicago team left behind a trove of writings and correspondence spanning more than three decades, from letters and cablegrams to cards, notes, and diaries. Eric Cline draws on these materials to paint a compelling portrait of a bygone age of archaeology. He masterfully sets the expedition against the backdrop of the Great Depression in America and the growing troubles and tensions in British Mandate Palestine. He gives readers an insider's perspective on the debates over what was uncovered at Megiddo, the infighting that roiled the expedition, and the stunning discoveries that transformed our understanding of the ancient world.
Digging Up Armageddon is the enthralling story of an archaeological site in the interwar years and its remarkable place at the crossroads of history.
-Victor Davis Hanson, Stanford University; author of The Other Greeks and Carnage and Culture
"A beautifully lucid presentation of four thousand years of history in a single volume. Cline writes primarily as an archaeologist-avoiding polemic and offering evidence for any religious claims-yet he has also incorporated much journalistic material into this study. Jerusalem Besieged will enlighten anyone interested in the history of military conflict in and around Jerusalem."
-Col. Rose Mary Sheldon, Virginia Military Institute
"This groundbreaking study offers a fascinating synthesis of Jerusalem's military history from its first occupation into the modern era. Cline amply deploys primary source material to investigate assaults on Jerusalem of every sort, starting at the dawn of recorded history. Jerusalem Besieged is invaluable for framing the contemporary situation in the Middle East in the context of a very long and pertinent history."
-Baruch Halpern, Pennsylvania State University
A sweeping history of four thousand years of struggle for control of one city
"[An] absorbing account of archaeological history, from the ancient Israelites' first conquest to today's second intifada. Cline clearly lays out the fascinating history behind the conflicts."
"A pleasure to read, this work makes this important but complicated subject fascinating."
-Jewish Book World
"Jerusalem Besieged is a fascinating account of how and why a baffling array of peoples, ideologies, and religions have fought for some four thousand years over a city without either great wealth, size, or strategic importance. Cline guides us through the baffling, but always bloody, array of Jewish, Roman, Moslem, Crusader, Ottoman, Western, Arab, and Israeli fights for possession of such a symbolic prize in a manner that is both scholarly and engaging."
-Victor Davis Hanson, Stanford University; author of The Other Greeks and Carnage and Culture
Archaeologist Eric H. Cline here offers a complete overview of this exciting field. He discusses the early pioneers, such as Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie and William Foxwell Albright, the origins of biblical archaeology as a discipline, and the major controversies that first prompted explorers to go in search of objects and sites that would "prove" the Bible. He then surveys some of the most well-known biblical archaeologists, including Kathleen Kenyon and Yigael Yadin, the sites that are essential sources of knowledge for biblical archaeology, such as Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Lachish, Masada, and Jerusalem, and some of the most important discoveries that have been made, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mesha Inscription, and the Tel Dan Stele. Subsequent chapters examine additional archaeological finds that shed further light on the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, the issue of potential frauds and forgeries, including the James Ossuary and the Jehoash Tablet, and future prospects of the field.
Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction captures the sense of excitement and importance that surrounds not only the past history of the field but also the present and the future, with fascinating new discoveries made each and every season.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
From the bestselling author of 1177 B.C., an accessible primer to the archaeologist's craft
An archaeologist with more than thirty seasons of excavation experience, Eric H. Cline has conducted fieldwork around the world, from Greece and Crete to Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. In Digging Deeper, Cline answers the questions archaeologists are most frequently asked, such as: How do you know where to dig? How are excavations actually done? How do you know how old something is? Who gets to keep what is found? How do you know what people from the past ate, wore, and looked like? Adapted from Cline's acclaimed book Three Stones Make a Wall, this lively little volume is brimming with insights and practical advice about how archaeology really works. Whether you are an armchair archaeologist or embarking on your first excavation, Digging Deeper is an essential primer on the art of the dig.
The Wall Street Journal - James Romm
«Questo libro ti prende per mano e ti conduce in un «magical mystery tour» archeologico attraverso il globo. Incontrerete archeologi famosi, esplorerete siti leggendari e vedrete le ultime scoperte ottenute grazie all’uso di nuove tecnologie. L’archeologia è piena di cose meravi gliose e Tre pietre fanno un muro, scritto da uno dei più grandi narratori del campo, è un libro necessario.»
Sarah Parcak, University of Alabama, Birmingham, 2016 TED Prize
«Vedo cose meravigliose…». Fu questa l’esclamazione di Howard Carter, quando nel 1922 vide per la prima volta da una fessura illuminata con una torcia la tomba di Tutankhamon, ritrovata intatta dopo un sonno millenario.
La scoperta di Carter è solo una delle straordinarie storie raccontate da Eric Cline in Tre pietre fanno un muro. C’è tutto quello che una persona curiosa del mondo antico vorrebbe conoscere. C’è la prima scoperta di Pompei, del 1594, e la lunga storia degli scavi nei secoli successivi; ci sono i pionieri della prima archeologia ottocentesca, l’epopea di Troia e Micene; c’è Petra, Masada, le silenziose guardie di terracotta a difesa di una tomba imperiale cinese, ci sono gli ittiti, i minoici, gli inca e gli aztechi. E poi Stonehenge, Altamira, Roma, Olimpia, Cnosso, Ebla, Abu Simbel, Nimrud, Babilonia, Palmira, Ur, Qumran, Mesa Verde, Palenque, Machu Picchu, le misteriose Linee di Nazca.
Quasi cento siti archeologici di tutto il mondo, in un racconto entusiasmante della loro storia, accompagnato dalla voce vivida e appassionata di uno dei più importanti archeologi del nostro tempo, che non risparmia aneddoti personali e coinvolgenti resoconti delle ultime tecniche di ricerca e scavo.
Con Tre pietre fanno un muro, a quasi settant'anni dalla pubblicazione dell’ormai classico Civiltà sepolte di C.W. Ceram, Eric Cline – l’apprezzato autore che ci ha svelato il collasso repentino della società dell’Età del Bronzo, narrato le guerre di Armageddon e l’infinita sequenza di battaglie e devastazioni subita dalla «città della pace», Gerusalemme – scrive il più grande racconto epico di tutti i tempi: una storia dell’archeologia in grande stile, che racchiude tutte le vicende dell’umanità antica.
New Scientist - Andrew Robinson
«Una lettura davvero intensa e piacevole.»
The Wall Street Journal - James Romm
Immaginate una campagna di scavo di un’antica città del Medio Oriente. Quello che viene riportato alla luce sono perlopiù le pietre di alcuni muri, vasellame e – se va bene – qualche oggetto prezioso e qualche iscrizione incompleta. Ma come facciamo, da questi pochi indizi polverosi, a ricostruire con tanta precisione in che modo la gente che abitava quel luogo in un lontano passato effettivamente viveva, cosa mangiava, come si vestiva, che aspetto aveva?
Eric Cline ci racconta tutto questo, a partire dai consigli pratici che un esperto archeologo potrebbe dare a un giovane apprendista. Come si fa a sapere dove scavare? E come si scava, nella pratica? E quando hai trovato un reperto, come fai a sapere quanto è vecchio? E cosa succede a quel reperto dopo che è stato estratto dal terreno, che percorso fa?
Sono tutte domande che ci poniamo e alle quali Cline dà risposte chiare, informate e avvincenti. Per finire col raccontarci le descrizioni del funzionamento delle più moderne tecniche di studio sul campo, quelle basate su tecnologie che gli archeologi dell’epoca classica non potevano neppure immaginare, e che oggi permettono di svelare particolari incredibili del nostro remoto passato.
Seguito ideale del precedente Tre pietre fanno un muro, Negli scavi introduce il lettore nel meccanismo stesso dell’archeologia moderna, soddisfacendo tutte le domande che ogni mente curiosa si pone quando legge le storie meravigliose delle antiche civiltà sepolte.