“Hidden in the russet convolutions of sandstone and porphyry east of Wadi Araba lies Petra, famed for the prodigious monuments which the ancient Nabataeans … carved into the face of the rock.” Thus begins Taylor’s eloquent description of this famous city, which reached its height under the Nabateans during the Hellenistic and Roman imperial periods. With quotations from the journals of renowned visitors, an excellent map of the site and numerous gorgeous photographs, including rare aerials, Taylor takes the reader on a tour of Petra while examining its history and importance.
Madaba (Medeba), located approximately 20 miles south of Amman, Jordan, was the site of a remarkable discovery in 1884. While clearing the ruins of an old church to build their own, some Bedouin Christian families uncovered a sixth-century A.D. mosaic that is the second oldest existing depiction of Byzantine Palestine (the oldest preserved in its original form). The mosaic provides the earliest, albeit schematic, glimpse of how Jerusalem once looked. One of the first scholars to make a careful study of this important find, Herbert Donner provides a brief but highly detailed description of this map’s history and Greek inscriptions. The book includes a 16-by-24-inch color map and a black-and-white sketch with numbers keyed to the text.
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992) 72 pp., $12.50, paper.
A curator in the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities at the British Museum, Reade recounts the history of Mesopotamia from prehistoric times to the rise of Babylon in the early second millennium B.C. He draws on evidence from archaeology and ancient texts to trace the development of the major Mesopotamian civilizations from the invention of agriculture to the emergence of city states, empires and the idea of the individual. This book is lavishly illustrated with approximately 90 high-quality photographs (40 in color) of objects in the British Museum’s Mesopotamian collection.
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