A Brief History of Archaeology: Classical Times to the Twenty-First Century, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Brief History of Archaeology

Classical Times to the Twenty-First Century, 2nd Edition

By Brian M. Fagan, Nadia Durrani


272 pages

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This short account of the discipline of archaeology tells of spectacular discoveries and the colorful lives of the archaeologists who made them, as well as of changing theories and current debates in the field. Spanning over two thousand years of history, the book details early digs as well as covering the development of archaeology as a multidisciplinary science, the modernization of meticulous excavation methods during the twentieth century, and the important discoveries that led to new ideas about the evolution of human societies.

A Brief History of Archaeology is a vivid narrative that will engage readers who are new to the discipline, drawing on the authors’ extensive experience in the field and classroom. Early research at Stonehenge in Britain, burial mound excavations, and the exploration of Herculaneum and Pompeii culminate in the nineteenth century debates over human antiquity and the theory of evolution. The book then moves on to the discovery of the world’s pre-industrial civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Central America, the excavations at Troy and Mycenae, the Royal Burials at Ur, Iraq, and the dramatic finding of the pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922. The book concludes by considering recent sensational discoveries, such as the Lords of Sipán in Peru, and exploring the debates over processual and postprocessual theory which have intrigued archaeologists in the early 21st century. The second edition updates this respected introduction to one of the sciences’ most fascinating disciplines.

Table of Contents

1 “The Backward Looking Curiosity”

2 The Antiquity of Humankind

3 Pharaohs and Assyrians

4 Human Progress and the Three Ages

5 Early American Archaeology

6 Scriptures and Civilizations

7 The Birth of Culture History

8 Egypt, Iraq, and Beyond

9 Archaeology Coming of Age, 1920 to 1940

10 Culture History and Beyond

11 Radiocarbon Dating and World Prehistory

12 The “New Archaeology”?

13 After Processualism

14 The Future

About the Authors

Brian M. Fagan is one of the world’s leading archaeological writers and an internationally recognized authority on world prehistory. He is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Nadia Durrani is a Cambridge University-trained archaeologist and writer, with a PhD from University College, London, in Arabian archaeology. She is former editor of Britain’s best-selling archaeology magazine, Current World Archaeology and has authored and edited many articles and books on archaeology from every corner of the globe.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology