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Ancient Mysteries: Discover the latest intriguiging, Scientifically sound explinations to Age-old puzzles [Paperback]

By Peter James (Author) & Nick Thorpe (Author)
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Item Number 158656  
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Item description for Ancient Mysteries: Discover the latest intriguiging, Scientifically sound explinations to Age-old puzzles by Peter James & Nick Thorpe...

Examines some of the great mysteries of the ancient world, drawing on the latest research to reveal the secrets behind the Nazca lines, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the curse of Tutankhamun.

Publishers Description
For centuries, philosophers, scientists, and charlatans have attempted to decipher the baffling mysteries of our past, from Stonehenge to the lost continent of Atlantis. Today, however, DNA testing, radiocarbon dating, and other cutting-edge investigative tools, together with a healthy dose of common sense, are guiding us closer to the truth. Now historian Peter James and archaeologist Nick Thorpe tackle these age-old conundrums, presenting the latest information from the scientific community-and the most startling challenges to traditional explanations of mysteries such as:
- The rise and fall of the Maya
- A lost cache of Dead Sea Scrolls
- The curse of Tutankhamun
- The devastation of Sodom and Gomorrah
- The Nazca Lines and the Vinland Map
- The existence of Robin Hood
These true mystery stories twist and turn like a good whodunit, as James and Thorpe present the evidence for and against the expert theories, shedding new light on humankind's age-old struggle to make sense of the past. "Ancient Mysteries" will entertain and enlighten, delight the curious and inform the serious.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ballantine Books
Pages   651
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 7.36" Height: 1.44"
Weight:   1.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 30, 2001
Publisher   Ballantine Books
ISBN  0345434889  
ISBN13  9780345434883  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 18, 2017 10:10.
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More About Peter James & Nick Thorpe

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Peter James is a professional writer on ancient history and archeology. He studied at Birmingham and London universities and describes himself as a "generalist" in the study of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. He has published numerous articles on ancient technology, chronology, and the history of science and is the principal author of the highly controversial Centuries of Darkness and a forthcoming book on Atlantis, The Sunken Kingdom.
Dr. Nick Thorpe, an archeologist in prehistory, studied at Reading and London universities and is now lecturer in archeology at King Alfred's College, Winchester. He directs research projects in Britain and Denmark. He has contributed articles on agriculture and chronology, metalworking, astronomy, and prehistoric society to numerous books and journals and is a coauthor of Centuries of Darkness.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient
3Books > Subjects > History > World > General
4Books > Subjects > History > World
5Books > Subjects > Reference > Fun Facts > Curiosities & Wonders

Reviews - What do customers think about Ancient Mysteries: Discover the latest intriguiging, Scientifically sound explinations to Age-old puzzles?

Intelligent and Entertaining  Jun 20, 2007
The chapters follow a general pattern in which the authors present the most inventive & appealing of "crackpot" theories and then examine the actual evidence to see where it leads. Quite often the mysteries remain unsolved, but usually the fun speculative explanations completely fall apart along the way. This book debunks without being smug or insulting. Not only was it educational, it was genuinely fun to read.
Here is the first intelligent rebuttal to Graham Hancock's theories, which have gripped my imagination since reading _Fingerprints of the Gods_ a decade ago. I knew Hancock's ideas were generally dismissed by the scientific community but never knew WHY until this book explained how flimsy his evidence and how flawed his reasoning was. Why was this information so hard to find? Why did it take so long for somebody to write a popularly accessible book dealing with these subjects from a rational, scientific viewpoint?
Hancock is not 100% disproven by this book, but many of his major theories are undermined, casting serious doubt on his conclusions. I'd call this book necessary reading for anyone who was captivated by _Fingerprints of the Gods_ or _The Message of the Sphinx_. You need this valuable perspective from the "other side" of the debate.
Comprehensive, never boring, a little p.c.  Jun 14, 2007
This is THE book exploring, from an open-minded and rational perspective, all those historical mysteries that are touched on in tv specials, tabloids, and other pop culture venues but rarely discussed in depth.

Perhaps most importantly, this book credibly debunks outlandish theories of alien contributions to human culture by showing that primitive societies were capable of all the magnificent feats attributed to them, including the construction of the pyramids of Giza, the scratching out of the Nazca lines, and the erection of the stone heads at Easter Island. It also finds no real evidence for the existence of ley lines and makes quick work of the entire idea that there was ever an Atlantis.

But the banaltiy of discovering that such accomplishments as the pyramids were achieved by mere humans is compensated for by the novelty - at least to the average reader like myself - of theories postulating, for example, that meteorite activity was resposible for the destruction of Old Testament cities, or that an ancient Roman army may have settled in China. The authors' contention that there is too much reliable, anecdotal evidence for the scientifically minded to dismiss the idea of reincarnation out of hand was perhaps the authors' bravest single conclusion.

I have only two critiques of this book, and while they are minor, they prevent me from giving it a full five stars. For one, I was irked at the authors' occasional impulse to genuflect, albeit slightly, to the gods of political correctness. For example, the incredulity that European explorers expressed at the idea that the ancestors of the primitive, South American tribes living in the area of magnificent, pre-Inca ruins could have built such wondrous structures is described as mere, unforgiveable racism. Yet no accusation of racism is made when discussing how Europeans unjustly credited non-European cultures (such as Persians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, Egyptians and the mythical Atlanteans) with building ancient European monuments--despite the fact that these Europeans plainly stated that the primitive tribes inhabiting Britain at the time of the construction of Stonehenge, for example, could never have achieved such an undertaking. Why the double standard?

The section on the this sites was fascinating, but also suffered from political correctness. The authors provide good evidence that ancient tribes living on the Russian steppes contained a signficant number of female warriors. In some areas, female skeletons were found in up to 20% of all "warrior graves." Yet this by no means implies a matriarchal society, and while the authors are careful to point out that an all-female warrior society most likely never existed, their off-the-cuff suggestion, at one point, that the women in these tribes may well have been in charge flies in the face of everything we know about ancient societies. The probable existence of a significant minority of female warriors is not enough to support such a provocative claim.

Finally, I was annoyed that the authors took time to argue that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality but inhospitality. I have no personal investment in the traditional interpretation of the Biblical text, and seeing as to how the authors' seem to truly believe that a misunderstanding of this story has led to centuries of unjustified discrimination against gays, I sympathize with their desire to set the record straight. Regardless, if I want theology, there's a whole other section of the book store for that.

My second issue with this book is that parts of it are dated. The cocaine found in some Egyptian mummies has been explained since this book's publication as residue from a related, Old World plant used in the embalming process. There is no need for a trans-Atlantic drug trade stretching back tens of thousands of years. To the authors' credit, they predict this finding, but this doesn't change the fact that the whole section is a waste of time for the reader. Nevertheless, as science progresses such revisions are inevitable, and until someone writes a better book - or the authors' themselves update this one - this remains the book to read for those fascinated by the ideas of ancient mysteries and wanting a non-dogmatic, scientific scoop.
Enlightening!  Jun 21, 2006
This book sees through several ancient mysteries, all well known to the literate public, from a very carefully open minded and neutral standpoint. Obviously well researched, you can find several theories backed by evidential information to each topic presented in the book; from the beginnings of the Atlantis legend, to the origin of Dracula. Perhaps the best book to obtain general information about a wide variety of ancient mysteries. If you are at all interested in reading this book, I recommend you find this book at your local bookstore to read the acknowledgement pages at the begining, as well as to compare your prices. You will see the kind of effort that was put into the exceptionally wide and enlightening perspective over the given topics the authors have to offer. The amount of information you can find for each topic in this book is amazing, even encyclopedic in scale. Judging by the author's insights towards other works of the same genre, this book is much more credible for its facts, making it more significant as informative literature. You can get all sides to one topic, and nothing is stated to be over-concluded so you are given the benefit of a doubt, while shown a window for truth. I can ensure that it will be a fun read.
Ancient Mysteries slamming the competetion  Feb 16, 2006
This was a very interesting read, untill you realize that the authors have turned this book into a platform to slam Graham Hancock's research in almost every other paragraph. For the theories and subjects to supposedly be approached with an open view, you can bet the money you spent on this book that the authors will take an opposing view to anything Hancock has written. The space that could have been filled with interesting points and observations are instead filled with repetitious slams against Hancock and anyone who may support his theories and oppinions. It would make a great read, if you care to muddle through the finger pointing and biases twards others research.
Not reliable source for information  Jul 30, 2005
Overall this was a very interesting read, however there were many "facts" that were not necessarily true. For example there is a section that questions how old Jesus was in his years of ministry wherein the author explains that nowhere does the Bible make any reference to his age. But the Bible does in fact state his age, and quite clearly, in Luke 3:23 where it tells us that he was 30. Despite the unreliability this was an enjoyable book to read.

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