The best 34 Archaeology books

Embark on an enchanting journey through time with our book list on archaeology. Unearth the secrets of ancient civilizations and explore the methods and discoveries of archaeologists around the world. From Egyptology to underwater archaeology, this collection offers a fascinating insight into the past. Whether you're an armchair historian or an aspiring archaeologist, these books will transport you to the exciting world of uncovering our human heritage.

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Archaeology Books: The Persians by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones

The Persians

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
The Age of The Great Kings

What's The Persians about?

"The Persians" by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones provides a comprehensive overview of ancient Persian civilization, exploring its history, culture, and influence on the world. Through engaging storytelling and insightful analysis, the book offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich and complex society of the Persians. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the ancient world and the legacy of the Persian Empire.

Who should read The Persians?

  • History enthusiasts interested in ancient Persia and the Persian empire
  • Students studying ancient civilizations or classical history
  • Readers who enjoy exploring different cultures and historical events

2
Archaeology Books: A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

A Dying Fall

Elly Griffiths

What's A Dying Fall about?

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths is a gripping mystery novel that follows forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway as she investigates a series of deaths with possible connections to an ancient legend. Set in the atmospheric backdrop of Norfolk, England, the book delves into themes of history, mythology, and the complexities of human relationships.

Who should read A Dying Fall?

  • Readers who enjoy mystery novels with a touch of archaeology and forensic science
  • Those who appreciate well-developed and complex characters
  • People who like stories set in atmospheric and evocative locations

3

What's The Ape Who Guards the Balance about?

The Ape Who Guards the Balance is a gripping mystery novel by Elizabeth Peters. Set in 1907, it follows the adventurous archaeologist Amelia Peabody as she unravels a sinister plot in the ancient lands of Egypt. Filled with suspense, historical details, and a touch of humor, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Who should read The Ape Who Guards the Balance?

  • Readers who enjoy historical mysteries set in exotic locations
  • Fans of strong, independent female protagonists with a passion for archaeology
  • Those who appreciate a blend of humor and suspense in their novels

4
Archaeology Books: House of Rain by Craig Childs

House of Rain

Craig Childs

What's House of Rain about?

House of Rain by Craig Childs is a captivating exploration of the ancient Anasazi civilization and the mysterious ruins they left behind in the American Southwest. Through vivid storytelling and meticulous research, Childs delves into the history, culture, and possible reasons for the disappearance of this enigmatic society. It's a thought-provoking journey that will leave you pondering the secrets of the past.

Who should read House of Rain?

  • Enthusiastic readers who enjoy exploring ancient civilizations
  • People with a passion for archaeology and anthropology
  • Those seeking a deep and immersive understanding of the history of the American Southwest

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Archaeology Books: The Mind in the Cave by J. David Lewis-Williams

The Mind in the Cave

J. David Lewis-Williams

What's The Mind in the Cave about?

The Mind in the Cave by J. David Lewis-Williams delves into the fascinating world of prehistoric cave art. Through extensive research and analysis, the book explores the meaning and significance of these ancient artworks, offering insights into the minds and beliefs of our distant ancestors. It provides a thought-provoking journey into the depths of human history and creativity.

Who should read The Mind in the Cave?

  • Readers who are fascinated by prehistoric art and human evolution
  • History enthusiasts seeking to explore the origins of creativity and symbolism
  • Individuals curious about the interconnectedness of ancient spiritual beliefs and cave paintings

What's A History of Archaeological Thought about?

A History of Archaeological Thought by Bruce G. Trigger provides a comprehensive overview of the development of archaeological theories and methods. From its early beginnings to the modern day, Trigger explores the various schools of thought and the key figures that have shaped the discipline. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the intellectual evolution of archaeology.

Who should read A History of Archaeological Thought?

  • Archaeology enthusiasts who want to understand the evolution of the field
  • Students and academics studying archaeology or anthropology
  • People interested in the philosophy and methodology behind archaeological research

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Archaeology Books: The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

The Crossing Places

Elly Griffiths

What's The Crossing Places about?

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths is a gripping mystery novel that follows forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway as she becomes entangled in a case involving ancient bones and a missing child. Set in the hauntingly beautiful landscape of Norfolk, England, the book weaves together history, suspense, and complex characters to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Who should read The Crossing Places?

  • Those who enjoy crime fiction or mystery novels
  • Readers with an interest in forensic anthropology and archaeology
  • People who appreciate well-developed and complex characters

8
Archaeology Books: The Horse, the Wheel, and Language by Anthony David, David W. Anthony

The Horse, the Wheel, and Language

Anthony David, David W. Anthony

What's The Horse, the Wheel, and Language about?

The Horse, the Wheel, and Language by David W. Anthony explores the fascinating history of how early humans domesticated horses, invented the wheel, and spread the Indo-European languages. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, the book uncovers the profound impact these developments had on human civilization and the way we communicate today.

Who should read The Horse, the Wheel, and Language?

  • Readers interested in the origins and spread of Indo-European languages
  • History enthusiasts curious about prehistoric human migrations and cultural evolution
  • Archaeology and linguistics students looking for a comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary study of human past

9
Archaeology Books: Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock

Fingerprints of the Gods

Graham Hancock

What's Fingerprints of the Gods about?

Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock challenges conventional theories about ancient civilizations and their technological advancements. Through extensive research and compelling evidence, Hancock proposes that a highly advanced civilization existed thousands of years ago, leaving behind clues that have been overlooked or ignored. This thought-provoking book invites readers to reconsider the history of humanity and the mysteries of our past.

Who should read Fingerprints of the Gods?

  • Enthusiastic individuals with a curiosity about ancient civilizations and lost history
  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking non-fiction that challenges established narratives
  • People interested in alternative theories about human origins and the possibility of advanced ancient civilizations

10
Archaeology Books: The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen

The Keepsake

Tess Gerritsen

What's The Keepsake about?

The Keepsake is a gripping crime thriller by bestselling author Tess Gerritsen. When an ancient mummy is discovered in a museum, forensic pathologist Maura Isles and detective Jane Rizzoli find themselves entangled in a chilling murder investigation with links to a decades-old mystery. As they uncover dark secrets and race against time, they must unravel the truth before more lives are taken.

Who should read The Keepsake?

  • Readers who enjoy crime fiction and suspense novels
  • Fans of forensic thrillers and stories with a medical examiner or detective protagonist
  • Those who appreciate a blend of scientific accuracy and gripping storytelling

11
Archaeology Books: Motel of the Mysteries by David MacAulay

Motel of the Mysteries

David MacAulay

What's Motel of the Mysteries about?

Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay is a satirical book that imagines a future archaeologist uncovering a 20th-century motel and interpreting its artifacts as religious and cultural symbols. Through detailed illustrations and witty commentary, the book humorously explores the concept of how future generations might misinterpret our present-day society.

Who should read Motel of the Mysteries?

  • Readers who enjoy satirical and humorous takes on archaeology and history
  • Individuals with a keen interest in speculative fiction and alternative future scenarios
  • Those who appreciate clever and detailed illustrations in a book

12
Archaeology Books: Cahokia by Timothy R. Pauketat

Cahokia

Timothy R. Pauketat

What's Cahokia about?

Cahokia by Timothy R. Pauketat is a captivating exploration of the ancient city of Cahokia, located in present-day Illinois. Through archaeological evidence and historical research, the book delves into the rise and fall of this sophisticated Native American civilization, challenging our understanding of pre-Columbian history in North America.

Who should read Cahokia?

  • Enthusiasts of ancient history and archaeology
  • Readers interested in Native American cultures and civilizations
  • Individuals curious about the interconnectedness of pre-Columbian societies in North America

13
Archaeology Books: The Ancient Celts by Barry Cunliffe

The Ancient Celts

Barry Cunliffe

What's The Ancient Celts about?

The Ancient Celts by Barry Cunliffe delves into the rich history and culture of the Celtic people. From their origins in Central Europe to their expansion across the continent, Cunliffe explores their society, religion, and interactions with other ancient civilizations. Drawing on archaeological evidence and historical accounts, this book offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of the ancient Celts.

Who should read The Ancient Celts?

  • History enthusiasts who want to learn about the ancient Celtic civilization
  • People with a curiosity for different cultures and their impact on history
  • Readers interested in archaeology and the uncovering of ancient mysteries

14
Archaeology Books: The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

The Janus Stone

Elly Griffiths

What's The Janus Stone about?

The Janus Stone is a gripping mystery novel by Elly Griffiths. Set in Norfolk, England, it follows forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway as she investigates a murder with ties to ancient Roman rituals. Filled with suspense, rich characters, and a touch of the supernatural, this book will keep you guessing until the very end.

Who should read The Janus Stone?

  • Readers who enjoy mystery novels with a touch of archaeology
  • Those who appreciate complex and flawed characters
  • People who like stories set in atmospheric and historical locations

What's The Lost City of the Monkey God about?

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston is a captivating non-fiction book that delves into the real-life expedition to uncover an ancient civilization in the dense jungles of Honduras. Filled with adventure, history, and scientific discovery, this book takes readers on a thrilling journey as the author and a team of explorers face numerous challenges in their quest to reveal the secrets of the legendary lost city.

Who should read The Lost City of the Monkey God?

  • Enthusiastic readers who enjoy non-fiction adventure stories
  • Anyone interested in archaeology, ancient civilizations, and remote exploration
  • People who appreciate vivid descriptions of exotic locations and the natural world

16
Archaeology Books: The Deeds of the Disturber by Elizabeth Peters

The Deeds of the Disturber

Elizabeth Peters

What's The Deeds of the Disturber about?

The Deeds of the Disturber is a historical mystery novel by Elizabeth Peters. Set in 19th century Egypt, it follows the adventures of Amelia Peabody, an amateur detective and archaeologist, as she investigates a series of mysterious deaths and uncovers a sinister plot. Filled with wit, suspense, and fascinating historical details, this book is a must-read for fans of the genre.

Who should read The Deeds of the Disturber?

  • Readers who enjoy historical mysteries set in Victorian-era England
  • Those with an interest in Egyptology and archaeological adventures
  • Fans of strong and independent female protagonists

17
Archaeology Books: A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

A Room Full of Bones

Elly Griffiths

What's A Room Full of Bones about?

A Room Full of Bones is a captivating mystery novel by Elly Griffiths. Set in Norfolk, England, the story follows forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway as she investigates a series of deaths that seem to be connected to an ancient superstition. As Galloway delves into the past, long-buried secrets and a room full of bones reveal themselves, leading to a gripping and unexpected conclusion.

Who should read A Room Full of Bones?

  • Individuals who enjoy mystery and crime novels
  • Readers who appreciate well-developed characters and intricate plots
  • Those with an interest in forensic archaeology and historical investigations

18
Archaeology Books: In Search of the Indo-Europeans by J. P. Mallory

In Search of the Indo-Europeans

J. P. Mallory

What's In Search of the Indo-Europeans about?

language family. Mallory explores the ancient migrations and cultural exchanges that shaped the development of Indo-European languages and societies, providing insights into the early history of Europe and Asia. This book offers a fascinating journey into the past and the quest to uncover the roots of a major language group.

Who should read In Search of the Indo-Europeans?

language family, exploring the cultural and historical connections of early Indo-European societies. The book delves into the migrations, myths, and material culture of these ancient peoples, shedding light on the prehistoric roots of modern European and South Asian civilizations.


What's In Small Things Forgotten about?

In Small Things Forgotten by James Deetz explores the hidden history and significance of everyday objects. From gravestones to pottery, Deetz reveals how these small artifacts can provide valuable insights into the lives of people in the past. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, the book offers a fresh perspective on the study of history.

Who should read In Small Things Forgotten?

  • History enthusiasts who want to uncover the stories hidden in everyday objects
  • Archaeology aficionados interested in how material culture informs our understanding of the past
  • Students and researchers looking for a thought-provoking exploration of Colonial America

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Archaeology Books: The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths

The Ghost Fields

Elly Griffiths

What's The Ghost Fields about?

The Ghost Fields is a gripping mystery novel by Elly Griffiths. Set in the atmospheric Norfolk countryside, it follows forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway as she uncovers dark secrets from the past. When a World War II plane is unearthed with a body inside, Ruth is drawn into a complex investigation that intertwines history, family drama, and murder.

Who should read The Ghost Fields?

  • Ghost and mystery enthusiasts seeking a captivating and atmospheric read
  • Readers interested in forensic archaeology and historical WWII mysteries
  • Those who enjoy character-driven crime novels with strong female protagonists

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Archaeology Books: Against the Grain by James C. Scott

Against the Grain

James C. Scott

What's Against the Grain about?

Against the Grain by James C. Scott challenges the conventional narrative of early human history. It delves into the origins of agriculture and the rise of early states, arguing that the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to settled farming was not as beneficial as commonly believed. Scott presents a thought-provoking analysis of how these developments shaped human societies and raises important questions about the costs of civilization.

Who should read Against the Grain?

  • Readers interested in challenging conventional views of human history and civilization
  • Those curious about the impact of agriculture and state formation on human society
  • People who enjoy thought-provoking and contrarian perspectives on cultural development

22
Archaeology Books: 1177 B.C. by Eric H. Cline

1177 B.C.

Eric H. Cline

What's 1177 B.C. about?

'1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed' by Eric H. Cline takes readers on a fascinating journey back in time to explore the mysterious collapse of ancient civilizations. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, Cline delves into the factors that led to the downfall of empires such as the Hittites, Mycenaeans, and Egyptians, offering thought-provoking insights into the fragility of human societies.

Who should read 1177 B.C.?

  • History enthusiasts who want to understand the collapse of ancient civilizations
  • Readers interested in exploring archaeological discoveries and their implications
  • Individuals who enjoy thought-provoking narratives that challenge conventional wisdom

23
Archaeology Books: The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

The Outcast Dead

Elly Griffiths

What's The Outcast Dead about?

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths is a gripping mystery novel that delves into the world of forensic archaeology. When a set of ancient bones is discovered in a hidden area of a museum, forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is called in to investigate. As she uncovers the truth behind the bones and their connection to a Victorian murder case, she finds herself drawn into a dangerous web of secrets and lies.

Who should read The Outcast Dead?

  • Crime fiction enthusiasts looking for a compelling mystery
  • Readers who enjoy stories with a blend of historical and contemporary elements
  • Those interested in forensic archaeology and the science of solving old mysteries

24
Archaeology Books: Seahenge by Francis Pryor

Seahenge

Francis Pryor

What's Seahenge about?

Seahenge by Francis Pryor is an intriguing exploration of a mysterious ancient monument. Pryor delves into the discovery and excavation of Seahenge, a Bronze Age timber circle found on the Norfolk coast. Through meticulous research and expert storytelling, the book offers insights into the rituals, beliefs, and everyday life of our ancestors, shedding light on a fascinating chapter of history.

Who should read Seahenge?

  • Those interested in prehistoric archaeology and ancient cultures
  • Readers who enjoy immersive and detailed explorations of historical sites
  • Individuals who want to learn about the rituals and beliefs of Bronze Age people

25
Archaeology Books: The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya by Mary Ellen Miller, Karl A. Taube

The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya

Mary Ellen Miller, Karl A. Taube

What's The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya about?

An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya by Mary Ellen Miller and Karl A. Taube provides a comprehensive guide to the deities, myths, and symbols of Mesoamerican civilizations. Through detailed illustrations and explanations, the book offers a fascinating insight into the religious and cultural beliefs of these ancient societies.

Who should read The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya?

  • Readers with an interest in the ancient civilizations of Mexico and the Maya
  • Students and scholars studying Mesoamerican history and mythology
  • Art enthusiasts who appreciate the visual symbolism of ancient cultures

What's The Riddle of the Labyrinth about?

The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox is a fascinating exploration of the ancient Minoan civilization and the decipherment of their mysterious script, Linear B. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, Fox delves into the lives of the archaeologists and codebreakers who unraveled this ancient puzzle, shedding light on a lost world and the power of language.

Who should read The Riddle of the Labyrinth?

  • History enthusiasts who are curious about ancient civilizations
  • Language lovers interested in the origins and development of writing systems
  • Readers who enjoy narratives that combine mystery, intellectual pursuit, and historical discovery

What's Turn Right at Machu Picchu about?

Turn Right at Machu Picchu (2011) by Mark Adams is a captivating blend of history, adventure, and personal narrative. Adams recounts his journey to retrace the steps of Hiram Bingham, the explorer credited with “discovering” Machu Picchu. Along the way, he uncovers the true story behind the ancient Inca city and shares his own reflections on travel and discovery.

Who should read Turn Right at Machu Picchu?

  • Travel enthusiasts looking for an engaging and informative expedition narrative
  • History buffs with an interest in ancient civilizations and archaeological discoveries
  • Readers who enjoy a blend of adventure, humor, and cultural exploration in their non-fiction books

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Archaeology Books: Timeline by Michael Crichton

Timeline

Michael Crichton

What's Timeline about?

Timeline by Michael Crichton is a thrilling science fiction novel that takes readers on an adventure through time. When a group of historians travel back to 14th-century France to rescue their colleague, they find themselves caught in the midst of a medieval war. Filled with action, suspense, and fascinating historical details, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Who should read Timeline?

  • Readers with an interest in science fiction and time travel
  • Those who enjoy fast-paced, action-packed stories with a historical twist
  • People who appreciate the blend of science and adventure in a novel

29
Archaeology Books: Archaeological Theory by Matthew Johnson

Archaeological Theory

Matthew Johnson

What's Archaeological Theory about?

Archaeological Theory by Matthew Johnson provides a comprehensive overview of the major theoretical frameworks and debates within the field of archaeology. From post-processualism to agency theory, the book delves into the complexities of interpreting the past and the various perspectives that shape our understanding of ancient societies. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the theoretical underpinnings of archaeological research.

Who should read Archaeological Theory?

  • Undergraduate and graduate students studying archaeology or anthropology
  • Professionals in the field of cultural heritage management
  • Archaeology enthusiasts and amateur researchers

30
Archaeology Books: Jungle of Stone by William Carlsen

Jungle of Stone

William Carlsen

What's Jungle of Stone about?

Jungle of Stone (2016) by William Carlsen is a captivating non-fiction book that chronicles the journey of two 19th century explorers, John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood, as they rediscover the ancient Mayan civilization. Through meticulous research and vivid storytelling, Carlsen brings to life the challenges and triumphs of these explorers, while shedding light on the fascinating history of the Maya people and their incredible architectural achievements.

Who should read Jungle of Stone?

  • History enthusiasts who are fascinated by ancient civilizations
  • Adventure seekers looking for true stories of exploration and discovery
  • Readers interested in the intersection of archaeology, anthropology, and travel

31
Archaeology Books: Red Land, Black Land by Barbara Mertz

Red Land, Black Land

Barbara Mertz

What's Red Land, Black Land about?

Red Land, Black Land by Barbara Mertz is a captivating exploration of ancient Egypt. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, the book delves into the daily lives, customs, and beliefs of the people who lived along the Nile. From the awe-inspiring pyramids to the intricate hieroglyphs, Mertz brings this fascinating civilization to life.

Who should read Red Land, Black Land?

  • Readers with a fascination for ancient Egyptian history and culture
  • Those who enjoy immersive and detailed non-fiction narratives
  • People who want to gain a deeper understanding of the daily lives and customs of ancient Egyptians

32
Archaeology Books: The Lost City of Z by David Grann

The Lost City of Z

David Grann

What's The Lost City of Z about?

The Lost City of Z by David Grann tells the fascinating true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett's quest to find a mythical ancient city in the Amazon rainforest. Fawcett and his team disappeared in 1925, sparking a century-long mystery. Grann retraces Fawcett's footsteps and delves into the dangerous and mesmerizing world of the Amazon, uncovering new clues about the lost city and the fate of its seekers.

Who should read The Lost City of Z?

  • Readers who enjoy real-life adventure stories
  • Explorers at heart who are fascinated by historical expeditions
  • Individuals curious about the mysteries of the Amazon rainforest and its uncharted territories

33
Archaeology Books: He Shall Thunder in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters

He Shall Thunder in the Sky

Elizabeth Peters

What's He Shall Thunder in the Sky about?

He Shall Thunder in the Sky is a thrilling historical mystery novel by Elizabeth Peters. Set in Egypt during World War I, the book follows archeologist Amelia Peabody as she uncovers a sinister plot by German spies and unravels a web of ancient secrets. Full of suspense, adventure, and fascinating historical detail, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Who should read He Shall Thunder in the Sky?

  • Readers who enjoy historical fiction
  • Those with an interest in Egyptian archaeology and culture
  • Fans of strong and independent female protagonists

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Archaeology Books: After the Ice by Steven Mithen

After the Ice

Steven Mithen

What's After the Ice about?

After the Ice by Steven Mithen takes readers on a fascinating journey into prehistoric times, exploring how humans adapted to the changing climate and environment at the end of the last Ice Age. Mithen combines archaeology, anthropology, and climatology to paint a vivid picture of our ancient ancestors and the challenges they faced as they transitioned from hunter-gatherer societies to settled agricultural communities.

Who should read After the Ice?

  • Readers with an interest in prehistoric history
  • Individuals curious about human adaptation to climate change
  • Those who enjoy interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the past

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