Gods, graves, and scholars; the story of archaeology,

by C. W. Ceram, 1915-1972.




Call number

CC100 .M313


C.W. Ceram visualized archeology as a wonderful combination of high adventure, romance, history and scholarship, and this book, a chronicle of man's search for his past, reads like a dramatic narrative. We travel with Heinrich Schliemann as, defying the ridicule of the learned world, he actually unearths the remains of the ancient city of Troy. We share the excitement of Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter as they first glimpse the riches of Tutankhamen's tomb, of George Smith when he found the ancient clay tablets that contained the records of the Biblical Flood. We rediscover the ruined splendors of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient wold; of Chichen Itza, the abandoned pyramids of the Maya: and the legendary Labyrinth of tile Minotaur in Crete. Here is much of the history of civilization and the stories of the men who rediscovered it. Illustrated with drawings, maps, and photographs… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
Interesting book! I learned some things I hadn't known, and details about things I had known. There were also some interesting sidelights on matters - Ceram's attitude towards the early history-hunters (not archaeologists, the ones who were just looking for neat stuff to take back to their countries) is interestingly in-between their own attitudes and how things are thought about today. I was wincing through his whole description of Schleimann's burrowing through the mound of Troy - while he looked for "interesting" things and gold, he was destroying huge amounts of data on the other cities and cultures that had inhabited the same place. The diggers in Babylon were a _little_ more careful, but only a little. And Ceram's views of Cortez and the other Spanish explorers/invaders of the New World were also much more approving than nowadays. Though he did point out some of the reasons for their insistence on "converting the heathens", and their inability to understand that they were dealing with another civilized people (not that that stopped Europeans from imposing their religion on others, anyway - Thirty Years War, anyone?). The level of detail varied considerably - Cortez and Carter we got specific events, with the early Egyptologists and explorers of Babylon and the associated cultures it's much more of an overview with occasional more-detailed descriptions of certain events. Overall, interesting, I'm glad I read it, and I doubt I'll ever want to reread.… (more)
LibraryThing member jerry-book
Best book on early archaeology. This is a fascinating study of 19th century discoveries and there are some 20th century discoveries.
LibraryThing member jhw
(final paragraph only transcribed here)
Clearly and dramatically written: eg description of opening of Tomb of Tutankhamen is quite gripping. Very well translated: the only book translated from German I have ever come across that reads easily. An outstanding specimen of a work of popularization.
(notes written 1953)… (more)
LibraryThing member carterchristian1
Great introduction to archaeology, covers major archaeological sites in the world.

Original publication date



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