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DVDs:History:Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites DVD
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Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites DVD

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Overview

The work of archaeologists has commanded worldwide attention and captivated the human imagination since the earliest days of exploration, with groundbreaking discoveries such as the treasures of ancient Egypt, the lost kingdoms of the Maya, and the fabled city of Troy. Archaeology brings us face-to-face with our distant ancestors, with treasures of the past, and with life as it was lived in long-ago civilizations.


Despite the fascinating and often romantic appeal of archaeology, many of us have little idea of what the field actually involves. What, exactly, do archaeologists do? What takes place on an archaeological dig? And how does the reality of the work differ from what we see in Indiana Jones movies?


Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites, taught by renowned archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer Eric H. Cline, answers these questions and more in rich and provocative detail. This thrilling new course, produced in partnership with National Geographic, introduces you to over 20 of the most significant and enthralling archaeological sites on the planet, providing both an in-depth look at the sites themselves and an insider’s view of the history, science, and technology of archaeology.


Please note: The CD version of this course is the same content as the DVD version, but presented with the audio only for those who would prefer to listen while driving, exercising, etc.

Details

  • 4 discs; 12 hours
  • Includes 472-page printed course guidebook and downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • © 2016

Title List

24 lectures/30 minutes each, plus a bonus time-lapse video


The Origins of Modern Archaeology
Begin to investigate what archaeologists actually do, the nature and scope of their work, and popular misconceptions about the field. As an introduction to the course, trace the colorful history of archaeology from its beginnings with the ancient Babylonian king Nabonidus to archaeological luminaries of the 20th century.


Excavating Pompeii and Herculaneum
Travel to the iconic sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy—Roman towns that were famously destroyed by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Learn about the history of their excavation, and witness the astonishing preservation of buildings, objects, and human remains. Delve deeper to discover fascinating details of ancient Roman life.


Schliemann and His Successors at Troy
Follow the exploits of Heinrich Schliemann, a 19th-century amateur archaeologist who was determined to find the site of Homer's Troy. Learn about his dig through nine stratified cities, the astonishing finds, and the intense debates concerning which city was the actual Troy. Trace subsequent work at the site and examine the compelling conclusions.


Early Archaeology in Mesopotamia
Explore the history of phenomenal finds in Mesopotamia, beginning with the 19th-century unearthing of the great Assyrian palaces at Nimrud and Ninevah, with their libraries of cuneiform texts. Also contemplate the 20th-century discovery of the dazzling treasures of the famous Death Pits of Ur.


How Do Archaeologists Know Where to Dig?
This lecture uncovers the methodology archaeologists use in looking for sites. Get acquainted with the uses of remote sensing technologies, such as LiDAR and ground penetrating radar, which enable archaeologists to visualize objects obscured by vegetation and soil. Then investigate ground surveys—reconnaissance done by carefully walking potential sites—which reveal vital information before digging.


Prehistoric Archaeology
Prehistoric archaeology allows us to glimpse the earliest times in hominid and human history. Learn about seminal 20th-century finds of hominids in Africa, which provided clues to the origins of our ancestors from millions of years ago. Then discover the astounding figural cave paintings of Lascaux, Altamira, and Chauvet.


Göbekli Tepe, Çatalhöyük, and Jericho
Among significant Neolithic (New Stone Age) sites, explore Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, whose imposing stone rings are the oldest known examples of monumental architecture in the early Near East. Continue to Jericho, with its extraordinary tombs and famous tower, and Turkey’s Çatalhöyük, noted for its mysterious houses built without doors or windows.


Pyramids, Mummies, and Hieroglyphics
In the first of two lectures on the wonders of Egyptology, learn about the deciphering of hieroglyphics through the legendary Rosetta Stone. Also explore the intriguing techniques of ancient Egyptian embalming and mummification, and get the stories behind the building of the Step Pyramid of Zozer, the Pyramids at Giza, and the Sphinx.


King Tut's Tomb
Trace the events that led Egyptologist Howard Carter to the dramatic discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922. Witness the unfolding excavation of the site, and uncover the spectacular treasures of the tomb. Consider why the tomb of a young and short-lived king might have contained such a vast display of wealth.


How Do You Excavate at a Site?
Here, delve into the specifics of how to perform an archaeological dig. Learn about the physical tools of the trade, how to excavate objects in the ground, and how a dig's schedule unfolds. Learn about strategies in the field such as “vertical" and "horizontal" excavations, and walk through the process of organizing an archaeological project.


Discovering Mycenae and Knossos
Follow the archaeological search for King Agamemnon at Mycenae, and ponder the discovery of striking tomb objects as well as the palace from which the Mycenaeans sailed for Troy. From there, uncover the majestic palace of the Minoans at Knossos, with its vibrant wall paintings and perilous court rituals of bull-leaping.


Santorini, Akrotiri, and the Atlantis Myth
Visit the famously beautiful Greek island of Santorini, whose picturesque topography resulted from a volcanic eruption in the second millennium B.C. Explore the site of Akrotiri, a town buried under volcanic ash, renowned for masterful wall paintings reflecting ancient Aegean trade. Trace intriguing connections between the volcano's destruction and the myth of Atlantis.


The Uluburun Shipwreck
The Uluburun shipwreck, a vessel that sank in 1300 B.C. off the coast of what is now modern Turkey, ranks among the greatest archaeological finds of all time. Learn about its remarkable underwater excavation, and wonder at the ship's fabulous cargo, from ancient raw materials such as copper ingots and ivory to lavish finished goods and dazzling jewelry.


The Dead Sea Scrolls
The unearthing of the Dead Sea Scrolls revolutionized the field of biblical studies. Investigate the events that led to their discovery in 1947, and consider their extraordinary contents, which shed light on the Hebrew Bible through texts from over 2,000 years ago. Learn also about the fascinating finds in other nearby caves.


The Myth of Masada?
The excavation of Masada—the ancient mountain stronghold of Jewish rebels against Rome—was a milestone for archaeology. Explore the discoveries at the site, hear the harrowing story of its defense, and contemplate the controversy surrounding the use of a first-century historical account in interpreting the archaeological evidence.


Megiddo: Excavating Armageddon
The site of Megiddo in northern Israel comprises more than twenty ancient cities, built one atop the other. Trace the excavations there over the last century, and examine the discovery of Neo-Assyrian palaces, lavish Bronze Age tombs, monumental temples, and other treasures at one of the most important archaeological sites in the Near East.


The Canaanite Palace at Tel Kabri
Enjoy a firsthand look at archaeological fieldwork as Professor Cline recounts his own excavations at Israel's Tel Kabri. Follow the work at the site from 2005 to 2015, centering on an elaborate Bronze Age Canaanite palace, its striking architectural features, and the oldest and largest wine cellar ever discovered in the ancient Near East.


Petra, Palmyra, and Ebla
Here, visit three superlative sites in Jordan and Syria. Begin at Petra, with its breathtaking tombs and temples carved into the face of cliffs. At the desert oasis of Palmyra, explore the site's extraordinary Greco-Roman and Persian architecture. Finish at the great citadel of Ebla, famous for its enormous cache of ancient tablets.


How Are Artifacts Dated and Preserved?
Observe how the measurement of factors such as electromagnetic radiation, hydration, and carbon content can reveal the age of excavated objects. Examine how particular environmental conditions can preserve organic material over centuries or millennia. Finally, take account of the looting of antiquities and its impact on the world's archaeological heritage.


The Terra-cotta Army, Sutton Hoo, and Ötzi
Among the more unusual archaeological finds, investigate the accidental discovery of China's terra-cotta army, with its spectacular clay warriors, horses, and chariots. Ponder the accidental preservation" of a 7th-century ship at Sutton Hoo in England, and conclude with cases of remarkable preservation of human remains in bogs, ice, and desert environments.


Discovering the Maya
Trace the unearthing of the great Maya civilizations in the 19th century, and revel in the excitement of the recent “cracking” of Maya hieroglyphics. Contemplate the extraordinary temple-pyramids, tombs, and athletic courts of the Maya; consider the use of remote sensing technology in uncovering Maya structures; and explore the premier sites of Copán, Palenque, Tikal, and Chichén Itzá.


The Nazca Lines, Sipán, and Machu Picchu
Continue with three stellar South American sites: First, ponder the mysteries of the Nazca Lines, giant animal and human figures etched in the soil of the Peruvian desert. Then visit the New World’s richest unlooted tomb, that of the “Lord of Sipán,” and finish at Machu Picchu, glorious city of the Incas.


Archaeology in North America
Journey into the archaeological heritage of North America, beginning with the excavation of the Hunley, a Confederate submarine from the U.S. Civil War. Investigate the unearthing of colonial Jamestown, Virginia; consider the impact of the 9,000-year-old Kennewick Man; and learn about legislation enacted to protect archaeological finds in the U.S.


From the Aztecs to Future Archaeology
Finally, travel to the site of Tenochtitlan, buried under modern Mexico City, and to Teotihuacan, with its vast pyramids and temples along the Avenue of the Dead. Conclude the course by considering how future archaeologists may interpret our own culture someday, and reflect on archaeology's contributions to our collective knowledge and our humanity.


Extra Feature: Set Build Time-Lapse Sequence
This time-lapse sequence shows how the production team at The Great Courses built the set for this amazing course. Enjoy!

CD or DVD?

You should buy the CD set/audio if you would enjoy the convenience of experiencing this course while driving, exercising, etc. While the video does contain visual elements, the professor presents the material in an engaging and clear manner, so the visuals are not necessary to understand the concepts. Additionally, the audio audience may refer to the accompanying course guidebook for names, works, diagrams, illustrations, and examples that are cited throughout the course.


You should buy the DVD set/video if you prefer learning visually and wish to take advantage of the visual elements featured in this course. While the video version can be considered lightly illustrated, it does feature images and icons to help correlate concepts to actual benefits, as well as on-screen text to help reinforce material for visual learners.

About the Professor

Dr. Eric H. Cline is a Professor of Classics and Anthropology and the current Director of The George Washington University (GWU) Capitol Archaeological Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from Yale University, and a B.A. in Classical Archaeology modified by Anthropology from Dartmouth College. He is also a National Geographic Explorer, a Fulbright Scholar, and a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar.


Over more than 30 seasons as an active field archaeologist, he has led excavations and surveys in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, and the United States.


A prolific researcher and author of more than 100 articles and reviews, Dr. Cline has also written 16 books, including The Battles of Armageddon: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age; Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel; Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction; and The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction. His book 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed was considered for a Pulitzer Prize in 2015.


At GWU, Dr. Cline has won the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence and the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Faculty Scholarship. He is also the recipient of the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award from the Archaeological Institute of America.


Dr. Cline has appeared in more than 20 television programs and documentaries, including those on ABC, the BBC, the National Geographic Channel, HISTORY, and the Discovery Channel.

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