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Return to Babylon: Travelers, Archaeologists, and Monuments in Mesopotamia download epub

by Brian M. Fagan


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I hoped that Brian M. Fagan's RETURN TO BABYLON would be a refresher course of sorts. I believe him to be knowledgeable.

I hoped that Brian M. It was, although at times I found the book to be delivering more than I wanted. Fagan is one of the most prolific writers in English about archaeology and anthropology.

Fagan, Brian . b. 1936. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Uploaded by Lotu Tii on September 20, 2013. SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata).

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Bibliographic Details. List this Seller's Books. Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T). Publication Date: 1979. Payment Methods accepted by seller.

Return to Babylon : Travelers, Archaeologists, and Monuments in Mesopotamia. Fagan writes not so much about classical Mesopotamia, but of the last 2 hundred years, and the archeological efforts that have perspired

Return to Babylon : Travelers, Archaeologists, and Monuments in Mesopotamia. Fagan writes not so much about classical Mesopotamia, but of the last 2 hundred years, and the archeological efforts that have perspired. The latter is undoubtedly accurate, given the temperatures of the region and the lack of modern airconditioning to these outdoor diggers. One episode in the book relates how in 1816, a Briton named Buckingham amused himself by recording a typical summer day's temperatures. Starting at 44 degrees at dawn, 50 at 2pm and 45 at midnight! The temperate at 2pm is bad enough.

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Similar books and articles. The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam: A Sourcebook. Return to Babylon: Travelers, Archaeologists, and Monuments in Mesopotamia. Princeton University Press, 2007.

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Find nearly any book by BRIAN M. FAGAN (page 3). Get the best deal by comparing prices from over 100,000 booksellers. Studyguide for World Prehistory: A Brief Introduction by Fagan, Brian . ISBN 9780205017911. ISBN 9781478434788 (978-1-4784-3478-8) Softcover, Cram101, 2012.

This revised and updated edition of Brian Fagan's 1979 classic chronicles an archaeological history steeped in excitement, danger, and international competition, when extraordinary men and women, working in debilitating heat amidst feuding tribes and bands of thieves, made stupendous discoveries at ancient cities such as Babylon, Nineveh, and Ur. Return to Babylon tells the story of archaeological travel and excavation in Iraq--then Mesopotamia--from the time of the great Arab geographers to the 2003 devastation of the Iraq National Museum. <P>The excavators were sometimes brilliant linguists and gifted scholars and sometimes unscrupulous amateurs who looted sites for national museums and even used bribery or force to achieve their goals. Fagan tells of Henry Rawlinson, Jules Oppert, and Edward Hincks, decipherers of cuneiform; Claudius and Mary Rich, observers of Nineveh and Babylon; and Émile Botta and Austen Henry Layard, who revealed the Assyrian civilization to an astonished world. Here, also, are men like Hormuzd Rassam, whose illegal digging and plundering horrified local officials, and Wallis Budge, consummate smuggler of cuneiform tablets. Fagan also recounts the careers of the multi-talented administrator Gertrude Bell, a primary influence in the creation of the nation of Iraq, and of Leonard Woolley, renowned for his excavation of Sumerian civilization at Ur. <P>Bringing this remarkable history up to date, Fagan chronicles the development of scientific archaeology in Mesopotamia, the growing Iraqi involvement in archaeology, and the tragic events of recent years that led to the looting of the Iraq National Museum and many archaeological sites.

Comments: (4)

Purebinder
If you're fascinated by ancient Mesopotamian civilization - their lost and rediscovered language, culture, and urban achievements - then this is NOT the book for you. If, on the other hand, you are fascinated by the struggles, conquests, and peculiarities of Victorian-era treasure hunters and proto-archaeologists, you'll probably find this a rich source of information and anecdotes.

Personally, I found the book quite disappointing. Page after page after page about so-and-so's personal habits, quirks, and hardships, and almost nothing touching on the ancient Babylonians themselves. For example, the chapter dealing with the deciphering of cuneiform focuses almost exclusively on the competition between explorers and linguists to acquire fragments and writing samples. There is almost nothing on what these inscriptions and writings actually said, let alone what light it shed on these early civilizations.

So it's a passable - possibly even good - book if you're interested in the foibles of the "great men" of early Mesopotamian archaeology. As for me, I found it tiresome, boring, and at times maddening.
Timberahue
I haven't read much since college days about the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and the archaeological expeditions responsible for discovering so much about them. I hoped that Brian M. Fagan's RETURN TO BABYLON would be a refresher course of sorts. It was, although at times I found the book to be delivering more than I wanted.

Fagan is one of the most prolific writers in English about archaeology and anthropology. I believe him to be knowledgeable. RETURN TO BABYLON covers the major archaeological expeditions in Mesopotamia (by and large, modern-day Iraq), the heyday of which stretched from the early 1800s through the 1930s. Fagan writes for interested lay readers and he focuses more on the personalities and politics behind those expeditions than the scientific nitty gritty. We get interesting portraits of such luminaries as Claudius James Rich, Henry Rawlinson, Austen Henry Layard, Hormuzd Rassam, Wallis Budge, Leonard Woolley (whose assistant for four years was T. E. Lawrence), and Gertrude Bell. Along the way, we also get glimpses of the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Sumerians, and some of their architectural and artistic achievements.

As a crafter of individual sentences and paragraphs, Fagan writes well. But as one "digger/explorer" succeeded another, a degree of monotony set in. The book became a little too like a textbook to be thoroughly enjoyable. Alleviating the monotony, there are many helpful illustrations -- photographs or paintings of notable figures, lithographs and painted reconstructions, and photographs of several of the more spectacular archaeological finds.

In the preceding paragraph I used the term "digger/explorer" (my term, not Fagan's). It wasn't until the German expeditions of the late nineteenth century that the foreigners began to employ careful methods worthy of the name archaeology. Indeed, the early digger/explorers typically destroyed valuable information and artifacts in their clumsy rush for impressive statuary, bas-reliefs, etc. Their scramble for treasures wasn't much different or less greedy than little kids bumping into one another at an Easter egg hunt. With the enlightenment of time, many modern readers would add a word to my phrase and call them "digger/explorer/looters".

One might question, however, the extent to which the removal of so many treasures from the sites of ancient Mesopotamian civilization to the British Museum, the Lourvre, etc. truly was a despicable practice, one without any possible justification. Had it not been for those Western expeditions to Mesopotamia and their shipments of antiquities back to western museums, it is likely that there would be far fewer such antiquities in existence today, even in situ, and that our overall knowledge of humankind's ancient past would be much poorer. Although Fagan does not make this point explicitly, I believe it implicit in the book. For example, early explorers noted that local people used inscribed slabs and broken bas-relief quarried from ruins to build their own houses; people destroyed ancient manuscripts because there was no conceivable use for them; and for centuries local Arab grave robbers had broken into and looted coffins in search of gold ornaments and other valuables.

In this revised edition of RETURN TO BABYLON, Fagan adds a last chapter to address the archaeological "catastrophe" of the two Gulf Wars, culminating in the plundering of the incomparable Iraq National Museum by hundreds of ordinary Iraqis pushing carts and wheelbarrows on April 10, 2003. And the ongoing destruction of antiquities by ISIS probably is much worse. Thus, there is a case to be made, I think (at least with 20-20 hindsight), that the removal of so many artifacts to the museums of the West was salutary.

One anecdote I found noteworthy, perhaps because it too tends to go against the grain of conventional politically correct thought: Commenting on the fact that the local pasha maintained a harem of Georgian girls, a British visitor to Baghdad in 1816 noted that only the "Faithful" -- that is, orthodox Moslems -- could possess white slaves; "sceptics and heretics must content themselves with the sable beauties of Nigritia, Soudan, and Madagascar". Ah, as the world turns.

And Fagan suggests another turn in the last paragraph of the book: "Does archaeology have a future in a world obsessed with celebrity, profits, and immediate gratification? In Mesopotamia, the scene of so many scientific triumphs, we are witnessing the past vanishing as if it had never been. Essentially, we have returned to the freewheeling days of the nineteenth century."
Wat!?
This is one of the better books I've read in 2010. Fagan has a great take on historical presentation--his book is filled with anecdotes and vivid imagery of these historical archaeologists. He does a great job of describing not only 18th century archaeology, but also its subject matter, the near east, to fair detail Most of all, this is a thrilling presentation from a man who clearly loves his subject matter. I look forward to reading his other works.
Saimath
Great book on early excavation and politics in the middle east between the end of WW1 and the 1940s
Return to Babylon: Travelers, Archaeologists, and Monuments in Mesopotamia download epub
Ancient Civilizations
Author: Brian M. Fagan
ISBN: 0870818678
Category: History
Subcategory: Ancient Civilizations
Language: English
Publisher: University Press of Colorado; Revised edition (April 30, 2007)
Pages: 386 pages