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

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University Press of Colorado, 2007 - History - 386 pages
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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. 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 civilisation 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 civilisation at Ur. 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.

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User Review  - keylawk - LibraryThing

The author is one of the best translators of archeological arcana to the public, but is an example of one who is so energetic at gathering the trees, that he fails to mention either the migrations of ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

Brian Fagan is Emeritus Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His many books include The First North Americans, Discovery!, and The Complete Ice Age.

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