Published in 2003, this book covers the period from 20,000-5,000 BCE. Mithen uses a device of "taking" a man modelled on "John Lubbock, namesafe of t...more Published in 2003, this book covers the period from 20,000-5,000 BCE. Mithen uses a device of "taking" a man modelled on "John Lubbock, namesafe of the great Victorian polymath and author of Prehistoric Times," back through the sites he wrote about earlier. Mithen describes each of these sites and historical developments across sites from current day archeological, paleontological, genetics, geological, botanical, etc., tools and discoveries. I learned a good bit through the device, but would have preferred just to read the information without the "Lubbock" character. I appreciated Mithen's making evident how the use of the term "history" to mean written history and what a huge amount of human history that leaves to the erroneous term "prehistory." This was my first delving into a broad swath of prehistorical discoveries. I recommend it highly. I am listing it as currently reading because I am currently reviewing it. (less)
This book confirms my thought that I should return to Knossos on Crete. Menzies describes other rediscovered palaces of the Minoan era--before the gre...moreThis book confirms my thought that I should return to Knossos on Crete. Menzies describes other rediscovered palaces of the Minoan era--before the great eruption of the volcano on Thera/Santorini. He also charts the evidence that during 7000 BCE and afterwards, the Minoans were not just trading/adventuring seafarers in the Mediteranean area, but traveled around the world. Recently discovered evidence from the oil pithoi, serving pieces, artwork all suggest that Menzies is correct but the most interesting is DNA work unique to these people from the sophisticated lands around and on Crete suggests more convincing evidence of their far travels.
Don't let the title put you off. "Finding Atlantis" books and documentaries can be pretty weak stuff. Menzies tracies the history of his travels, site studies, research, and shifts in his own thinking as this book goes along.
Menzies was in the Royal Navy and has written other historical accounts. His perspective from the Royal Navy allows him to look for evidence others have missed. He is picking up on strands that I have studied in other contexts and I am delighted that he supports my musings about the people on Crete. I now think of the early Minoans and later Minoans. (Readers should know that most of excavated Knossos is the rebuilt version after the Thera explosion that decimated Knossos and other parts of Crete. Subterranean electronic "photos" document the palace on which today's Knossos was built.)
This is a magnificent book. The full title is "Crete and Mycenae: The Glorious Art Heritage of Early Grecian Cultures. My copy had belonged to an arti...moreThis is a magnificent book. The full title is "Crete and Mycenae: The Glorious Art Heritage of Early Grecian Cultures. My copy had belonged to an artist previously and it has additional art work, news clippings, and other comments by that previous owner. It is, unfortunately, a huge and very heavy book--calls for reading on a table instead of in ones lap!