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From Black Land to Fifth Sun


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Table of Contents

* The Archaeology of the Intangible * Dark Caves, Obscure Visions * San Artists in Southern Africa * Fertility and Death * Power and the Ancestors * Avebury: Landscapes of the Ancestors * Stonehenge and the Idea of Time * Two Livings: Agriculture and Religion * The Moundbuilders of Eastern North America * The Bull Beneath the Earth * A Shrine at Phylakopi * Divine Kings Along the Nile * Xunantunich: The Maiden of the Rock * The World of the Fifth Sun * Epilogue

About the Author

Brian Fagan is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he has written many internationally acclaimed popular books about archaeology, including The Little Ice Age, Floods, Famines, and Emperors, and The Long Summer. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.


The unearthing of cave paintings, stone circles, burial mounds, charnel houses, pyramids and the like poses fundamental questions about the relationships between extinct cultures and their perceived worlds. Archaeologist Fagan (The Rape of the Nile) attempts, with the aid of techniques like Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Computer Automated Design mapping, to bridge the gap between the tangible and intangible, between the material and the spiritual lives of ancient peoples. Advocating the emerging science of the "archaeology of the mind," he suggests that he and his kind are like "Ahabs pursuing our great white whale" since "our limitations of thought, of understandings, of imagination" will prevent us from ever fully reconstructing from the available evidence the worldviews of long-defunct cultures. Nevertheless, his pilgrimageÄfrom Lascaux to Zimbabwe; Jericho to Stonehenge; Knossos to the Pyramids of Giza; Chillicothe, Ohio, to Teothihuacan, MexicoÄtakes us on an often gripping first-person tour of the world's past, and his excitement in surveying these areas for himself is almost palpable. But the real focus here is on the scienceÄfrom debunking conjectures about Stonehenge to reanimating the €atalh”yk Goddess cultÄand its invaluable contribution to painstaking reconstructions of the time frames and available materials of various eras. While the detail can be a little numbing, the seeming accuracy is refreshing, given the controversy that surrounds many of the more famous sites. (June)

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