Great Sites of the Ancient World

This gloriously illustrated volume takes readers on a tour of 100 archaeological sites around the world. While many of the selections are familiar entries in lists of great sites – such as the Giza plateau, Machu Picchu, and Hadrian’s Wall – care has also been taken to include a wealth of ‘hidden gems’. This refreshing approach ensures that even those well versed in all things archaeological are likely to come across at least some sites they were not previously aware of. All of these sites are – in usual times – accessible to the public and, to judge from the photographs, never less than stunning.

Looking beyond the usual suspects allows the book to tackle a wider range of topics. As renowned archaeological writer Paul Bahn notes in his introduction, modern archaeology concentrates ‘not on finding things, but on finding out things’. In that spirit, the succinct site summaries – running from two to four pages – will enlighten readers about subjects ranging from our early ancestors to the final moments of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Along the way, we find out about subjects as diverse as the pre-Inca and Inca pilgrimage centre at Pachacamac, Siberian decorated megaliths, the walls of Jericho, southern Africa’s first state, and bison-hunting strategies. At a time when international travel remains tricky, this book can transport you on a fabulous archaeological journey.

Review by MS.

Great Sites of the Ancient World, Paul G Bahn (ed.), Frances Lincoln, £25, ISBN 978-0711259133.