Until recently, archaeology was concerned mainly with piecing together the material lives of our ancestors. In this groundbreaking book, master storyteller and respected archaeologist Brian Fagan explains how cutting-edge science can now take us beyond the artifacts—into the mystical realm of shamans and spirit mediums, ancestor worship, and ritual sacrifice. From the Nile’s black land to the Aztec’s world of the Fifth Sun, from Stonehenge to Jericho, Fagan describes how Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Geographic Information Systems, Computer Automated Design-mapping and other sophisticated scientific methods are helping us to decode the religious and spiritual beliefs of our forebears. This new “archaeology of the mind” blends a wealth of scientific disciplines—from botany, zoology, and geology to neuropsychology, palynology, and nuclear physics. With vivid imagery and a transporting voice, Fagan revolutionizes our understanding of the inner lives of ancient people.
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.