Vanished Civilizations

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9780276426582: Vanished Civilizations
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More than 370 full-color illustrations, photographs, and detailed maps highlight an intriguing look at some of the world's long-lost civilizations, taking a close-up look at each culture's artifacts and efforts of archaeologists to reconstruct these complex societies--including Catal Huyuk, Mycenae, Babylon, Pataliputra, and others.

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A sampling of ancient ruins, this pictorial depiction of about 35 sites presents each vanished civilization in introductory fashion. As a gateway to the wider vistas of archaeology, it touches on the field's basic concepts and timelines but serves mainly to visually excite interest in the societies that built ziggurats, aqueducts, pyramids, and temples. All continents are represented, and although some sites are typical for an album of wonders-that-were (Angkor Wat, Mycenae, Pompeii), many are off the beaten path. Instead of picking Athens to represent ancient Greece, the editors selected the island of Delos; instead of choosing Machu Picchu to stand in for the Incan empire, they decided to include two cultures the Incas either succeeded (the Mocha) or outright conquered (the Chimu). Several pages are devoted to each site, including descriptions of setting, initial excavations, significant artifacts, and the once-powerful Ozymandias who built it. Within each visual framework is basic information about a site and its parent society, and this design definitely, and economically, fills the enduring collection-development niche for a basic browser about lost civilizations. Gilbert Taylor
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