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The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands
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The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  302 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
No one thought that Ubar, the most fabled city of ancient Arabia, would ever be found-if it even existed. Buried in the desert without a trace, it had become known as "the Altantis of the Sands." Many had searched for Ubar, including Lawrence of Arabia. Then in the 1980s, Nicholas Clapp, a documentary filmmaker and amateur archaeologist, stumbled on the legend of the lost ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 16th 1999 by Mariner Books (first published 1998)
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Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Armchair Travellers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Chronicling archaeological finds, religious texts, popular fiction, and local folklore, Nicholas Clapp spins a captivating tale of the "Atlantis of the Sands," only in this tale the mythological city is actually found, excavated, and its history pieced together for the readers. Well researched and well written, this book opens up a window to the history of ancient Arabia that many may not be familiar with.
Einas Alhamali
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The journey of the excavation was more exciting than the site itself
Kari Gritzan
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An amazing archaological tale about the search for the mythical city of Ubar. A great nonfiction read. Very thrilling! One of my favorite books.
Kevin Burns
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a classic! A must read for anyone interested in learning about the Empty Quarter in Oman, ancient history, and how the field of archeology connects with anthropology, religious scriptures, and modern day politics. Nicholas Clapp is brilliant and this book is a wonderful contribution to Middle Eastern literature.

I also recommend this book to anyone who is at a current impasse in their lives; seeing how ancient civilizations rise and fall and live on in local folklore will inspire eac
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gripping Read: Nicholas Clapp's personal account of a brilliant piece of archaeological detective work, and a gripping read in its own right; is called "The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands."

Perhaps because I'd imagined Petra for decades, then finally arrived there and explored that 'lost city,' Ubar held personal fascination in 2012, for me. Perhaps, because I lived (in Spain) on the zero meridian line (where Marconi performed discoveries), perhaps the attraction to The Silk Roa
Mar 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Wonderful book about the city of Ubar/ and the frankcense trade in the Arabian penisula in the early first millenium. The author was a documentary filmmaker who did the research on his own and finally persuaded the Jet Perpulsion Labortory, an archelogist, and an expedition leader to help him find this place. JPL added the area to a ground search radar mission on the space shuttle. Ran Fiennes convinces the Sultan of Oman to allow them to search through his country. They finally find it under a ...more
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I detest the "no crap, there I was" genre, in which someone with no qualifications goes someplace, behaves poorly and generally accomplishes nothing besides making Americans look like idiots - all under the heading of doing something vaguely archaeological (like finding King Solomon's Mines). "The Road to Ubar" was impressive because it started where the others do (with an amateur who has a cool idea), but then went in the direction that none of the others that I've found so far do - the author ...more
Andreas Schmidt
Oh, well ...
Era da un bel po' che avevo comprato questo libro, pensando di trovarci un romanzo (quasi una decina d'anni fa credo) e invece era il resoconto romanzato di Clapp, un sedicente Indiana Jones alla ricerca di una "città" perduta nel deserto. Il titolo di per sé è abbastanza ingannevole. Benché Shisur ora sia visibile su google earth e ci siano miriadi di foto caricate dai visitatori di Ubar, tutto era, fuorché una Atlantide delle sabbie. Nella sostanza, la città che hanno riportato all
Brad Erickson
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Some fascinating aspects in this book. Got a little slow in the first hundred pages with his endless research of myths and documents, and then again in the ending when he recreates the history of Ubar.
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Rhonda had this book when I visited her in Oman. FUn to read there, as it starts right off mentioning flying into and over Oman.
Rhonda traveled to Dhofar and visited not Ubar but Job's tomb, which is not far away.

After experiencing Wahiba Sands here [for one day] it is all the more interesting to read about saw ancient cities and caravan routes into and through the great sand deserts of Arabia.

Also, we stopped at a large sinkhole on the coast north of Sur that perhaps shows a little how a ci
Elizabeth Smith
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Answers questions raised by Bertram Thomas's excellent Arabia Felix (1932). This is a non-scholarly (quasi-scholarly? Clapp has no pretensions to being a scholar -- he is a documentary filmmaker -- but his research is thorough and borders on the scholarly) account of the 1990s excavations at Shisur in Oman, and what was found there.

A fully convincing answer to the questions of "Did Ubar exist?" and "Where was it?". Scholarly and specialist accounts have been published by Juris Zarins and others,
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Next on my nerdy agenda: I joined a new book club because I needed more literary oxygen and book talk. It’s the Non-fiction Book Group at Falmouth Public Library. Wow—what a smart group of well-read, articulate folks. We just finished reading and discussing a book I probably would never have read on my own: The Road to Ubar by Nicholas Clapp. It’s a fascinating account of Clapp’s attempt to discover ancient ruins whose existence waiver between myth and reality. This book shows the power of intel ...more
Kevin Pedersen
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-tour
An account of an archaeological hunt through Oman for a fabled lost city of ancient Arabia ("Arabia Felix", a term I know now!) and, though the author admits he's doing some guesswork near the end, it lands on what seems to be some pretty solid explanations of the mysteries they're going after. So there's a narratively satisfying conclusion.

This book made me want to go and read more things about the ancient world, which has to be seen as a benchmark way of saying that something was good. Also no
Albert Barlow
I find ancient history to be intoxicating.
I am a fan of and those interested in history should give his talk a listen.

Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If you like archaeology, anthropology, socialogy, and adventure, read this book. The author, a filmaker and amature archaeologist, sets out to find a fabled lost city of the Arabian desert. Because the writer is not a professional scientist, he avoids the dry language and over-theorizing endemic to many books in the "Searching for Lost ___" genre as written by professional scientists.
I won't spoil the ending, but the book is exciting, well annotated and features a helpful bibliography. Next s
Mar 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This true tale of adventure and discovery begins in a bookstore - always an auspicious start to anything. The author was looking for one book, but, by the suggestion of the book clerk, gets another instead. This unwanted book mentions the fabled Ubar, a middle eastern city of old. Ubar was reputed to have been a city of wealth, but that the inhabitants displeased God and the city sunk into the sands. As time goes on, Mr. Clapp collects more info on Ubar, and thus starts the journey...
Jan 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggistica

Non ho il libro sottomano e non ricordo se sul frontespizio ci sia scritto "romanzo", se è questo il caso dimenticatevi il romanzo. Il libro è in realtà un resoconto, forse un poco romanzato e privato dei dettagli più tecnici, di una spedizione archeologica realmente effettuata alla ricerca della città peduta di Ubar. Piacevole ed emozionante quanto può esserlo un documentario di Super Quark.
Sep 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Having spent a lot of time in Oman, this was a really fascinating book about the ancient city of Ubar orignally thought to be mythical. After years of reasearch & NASA images, they wer finally able to get some financial backig from the Omani govenment to search for Ubar.
What an archetypical find! It is close to Yemen & not too far from where I had worked. I would love to take a trip doen during one of my next trips to Oman.
Scott Joseph
I had this book on my bookshelf for about 12 years until I got to it, it was worth the wait!
Mr. Clapp's enthusiasm for finding Ubar is infectious, he performed exhaustive research and convinced unlikely persons to help him in the quest and they were able to share in the joy of the find as well will the reader.
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
Fun read on the search for the lost city of Ubar in the deserts of Oman. Really fun, thrilling, and well-researched. I appreciately the detailed footnotes and understated tone. I was worried by the first person narrative, but the author is humble and very focused on presenting facts, and clearly states what is merely conjecture. Im amazed this happened as recently as the 1990s.
Kobe Bryant
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it

OK story about looking for some stupid place. Being an archeologist is so cool though, you get to go to a foreign country, be outside a lot, befriend the locals and fall in love with a beautiful native girl
A historical novel by an archaeologist. This thesis was refuted by: Eake, Jonathan (20 October 2002). "Lost ‘Atlantis of the desert’ runs into sands of doubt". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 24 May 2012.

On page 172, "Baheet" should better be substituted with "Bakht".
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found this book incredibly entertaining as it blended the humor and narrative style of a travelogue with the facts and citations of a history book which results in a very entertaining and quick read that is not dense but also not too light. Also you'll never look at a salad bar the same again.
Aug 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was quite the archeological mystery story! I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. It was well-written and entertaining. The end drifted off into speculation a bit too much for me, and I think it actually lessened the overall high-quality of the book, but overall it was worth my time.
Wendy Williams
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this book by reading James Rollins "Sandstorm". He always references supporting books to his stories. This was one. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was a very interesting telling of a real place in the desert. The path they follow and how he relates it was superb. Very glad I read this.
Marie LeRoux
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved-books
one of the best books I've ever read. A nonfiction book that displays the author's feelings as well as his actions. This book is on the list of books that have changed the way I look at the world and my own life
May 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating description of the archaeological process, from research, to site analysis to the dig itself. A fun read.
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it

I'm a sucker for real like adventure stories. This was very interesting and a good story. The writing itself wasn't very good-he's not a writer-but the story itself is fascinating.
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the 1999 RUSA Notable Books winners. For the complete list, go to
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“The reason there are bugs in the bed," he explained, "is that they're too scared to get down on the floor.” 1 likes
“Who was this Dr. Blom? The duty officer for fielding dreamers of Atlantis, hollow-earthers, the flying-saucer crowd?” 0 likes
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