Books : reviews

Eric H. Cline.
1177 B.C.: the year civilization collapsed.
Princeton University Press. 2014

In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the “Sea Peoples” invaded Egypt. The pharaoh’s army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C. suddenly ceased to exist. How did it happen?

Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by a series of connected calamities, ranging from invasion and revolt, to the cutting of international trade routes. He draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse.

Eric H. Cline.
Archaeology: an introduction to the world's greatest sites.
Great Courses. 2016

Eric H. Cline.
Three Stones Make a Wall: the story of archaeology.
Princeton University Press. 2017

In 1922, Howard Carter peered into Tutankhamun’s tomb for the first time, the only light coming from the candle in his outstretched hand. Urged to tell what he was seeing through the small opening he had cut in the door to the tomb, the Egyptologist famously replied, “I see wonderful things.” Carter’s fabulous discovery is just one of the many spellbinding stories told in Three Stones Make a Wall. Written by Eric Cline, an archaeologist with more than thirty seasons of excavation experience, this book traces the history of archaeology from an amateur pursuit to the cutting-edge science it is today by taking the reader on a tour of major archaeological sites and discoveries. Along the way, it addresses the questions archaeologists are asked most often: How do you know where to dig? How are excavations actually done? How do you know how old something is? Who gets to keep what is found? Taking readers from the pioneering digs of the eighteenth century to today’s exciting new discoveries, Three Stones Make a Wall is a lively and essential introduction to the story of archaeology.