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From Stonehenge to Samarkand : An Anthology of Archaeological Travel Writing - Brian Fagan

From Stonehenge to Samarkand

An Anthology of Archaeological Travel Writing


Published: 20th July 2006
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Ever since Roman tourists scratched graffiti on the pyramids and temples of Egypt over two thousand years ago, people have travelled far and wide seeking the great wonders of antiquity.

In From Stonehenge to Samarkand, noted archaeologist and popular writer Brian Fagan offers an engaging historical account of our enduring love of ancient architecture - the irresistible impulse to visit strange lands in search of lost cities and forgotten monuments.

Here is a marvellous history of archaeological tourism, with generous excerpts from the writings of the tourists themselves. Readers will find Herodotus describing the construction of Babylon; Edward Gibbon receiving inspiration for his seminal work while wandering through the ruins of the Forum in Rome; Gustave Flaubert watching the sunrise from atop the Pyramid of Cheops.

We visit Easter Island with Pierre Loti, Machu Picchu with Hiram Bingham, Central Africa with David Livingstone. Fagan describes the early antiquarians, consumed with a passionate and omnivorous curiosity, pondering the mysteries of Stonehenge, but he also considers some of the less reputable figures, such as the Earl of Elgin, who sold large parts of the Parthenon to the British Museum.

Finally, he discusses the changing nature of archaeological tourism, from the early romantic wanderings of the solitary figure, communing with the departed spirits of Druids or Mayans, to the cruise-ship excursions of modern times, where masses of tourists are hustled through ruins, barely aware of their surroundings.

From the Holy Land to the Silk Road, the YucatAn to Angkor Wat, Fagan follows in the footsteps of the great archaeological travellers to retrieve their first written impressions in a book that will delight anyone fascinated with the landmarks of ancient civilisation.

About the Author

Brian Fagan is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and one of the world's leading archaeological writers and an internationally recognized authority on world prehistory. His many books include The Rape of the Nile, Chaco Canyon, The Long Summer, and The Little Ice Age.


This is worth buying.


This is great for reference about ancient buildings and people.

Kempsey NSW Australia

From Stonehenge to Samarkand

5.0 1


"Fagan introduces each writer or site in engaging witty paragraphs.... I would far rather spend a week with this crowded book, amply supplied with photographs as it is, than step out into the world it describes with such feeling."--The Boston Globe "Smart collection."--The New York Times "Brian Fagan is a prolific author, who always manages to write in a way that is a pleasure to read, while remaining grounded in a thorough mastery of the subject matter. His latest book, From Stonhenge to Samarkand, is no exception."--Johan Reinhard, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence and author of The Ice Maiden: Inca Mummies, Mountain Gods, and Sacred Sites in the Andes "With deft narrative skill and imaginative flair, [Fagan] peels away the layers of time...to capture all the delirious excitement of rediscovering the lost empires of the past."--Tony Perrottet, author of Pagan Holiday and The Naked Olympics "Stitched together with Fagan's knowledgeable, often wry commentary, this book contains centuries of good writing about humankind's romantic, confused, and always enthralling encounter with its own past."--Charles C. Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the America's Before Columbus

Maps and Timelinep. xi
Introductionp. xvii
Beginningsp. 1
The Desolation of Babylonp. 4
Herodotus at the Pyramidsp. 8
The Colossi of Memnonp. 12
The Antiquariansp. 17
"The Backward-looking Curiosity"p. 19
William Camden and Britanniap. 21
John Aubrey and Edward Llwydp. 25
William Stukeley and Stonehengep. 28
The Grand Tourp. 33
An Excursion to Acquire Tastep. 35
The Attractions of Naplesp. 37
The Rome of the Grand Tourp. 39
Pompeii and Herculaneump. 43
Wastrels and "Macaronis"p. 47
Greece Bespoiledp. 49
The Parthenon and Eleusisp. 52
Charles Cockerell and Friends at Aphaiap. 55
Pharaohs and Pyramidsp. 61
Napoleon's Donkeysp. 63
Champollion Visits the Nilep. 65
The First Touristsp. 66
"Far more beautiful than I had expected"p. 67
From Babylon to Persepolisp. 75
Karsten Niebuhr at Persepolisp. 77
Claudius James Rich at Babylon and Birs Nimrodp. 80
Sir Robert Ker Porter Sees Desolationp. 85
Rich at Persepolisp. 89
Palmyra and Petrap. 93
First Visitors to Palmyrap. 96
Baalbekp. 100
Inaccessible Petrap. 101
Tourists Along the Nilep. 111
Thomas Cook and Mark Twainp. 114
"A boating trip interspersed with ruins"p. 121
A Thousand Miles up the Nilep. 122
Maya and Incap. 129
The Almost-forgotten Mayap. 132
John Lloyd Stephens Reveals the Mayap. 134
Ephraim Squier and Inca Civilizationp. 144
Hiram Bingham at Machu Picchup. 150
The World of the Pueblosp. 157
Chaco Canyonp. 159
William Henry Jackson and the Pueblosp. 160
Frank Cushing, "1st War Chief of the Zuni, U.S. Assistant Ethnologist"p. 165
Early Touristsp. 175
To Desert and Steppep. 181
Sven Hedin, Explorer and Adventurerp. 184
Sir Aurel Stein and the Caves of a Thousand Buddhasp. 186
Individualistsp. 197
Maillart and Flemingp. 199
Byron in Oxianap. 203
Travel as Commodityp. 223
Paul Theroux Along the Nilep. 226
Crowds, Crowds ...p. 233
Solitude on the Great Wallp. 237
Tom Bissell in Central Asiap. 242
Obsessed with the Never-lost Incap. 251
Notesp. 259
Guide to Further Readingp. 269
Acknowledgmentsp. 275
Creditsp. 277
Indexp. 281

ISBN: 9780195160918
ISBN-10: 0195160916
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 291
Published: 20th July 2006
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 16.5  x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.61