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Publisher's Summary

Over the years, Classical archaeology has evolved from a pastime of collectors and antiquarians to a mature science. Today, the field is a multidisciplinary effort that involves not only traditional diggers, but also geologists, geographers, anthropologists, and linguists.These 36 lectures introduce you to this fascinating field of study. Professor Hale guides you through dozens of ancient sites with the skill of a born storyteller.

The riveting narrative unfolds like a series of detective stories and provides a new perspective from which to view the world of the Greeks and Romans, resurrecting them in all their glory and affording us a better grasp of cultures that have greatly influenced our own.

A series of exciting archaeological sites that provides you with a detailed idea of what Classical archaeology entails, as well as insights into the details of ancient Greek and Roman life. These case studies - involving both famous sites and discoveries unknown outside the field - include the city of Troy, the Athenian Agora, and the Cape Gelidonya Shipwreck.

Through an analysis of these and other riveting sites, you get a superb sampling of Classical archaeology and learn how it combines ancient history, anthropology, ethnography, comparative religion, art history, engineering, historical linguistics, paleobotany, and other pursuits with a dash of Indiana Jones-style adventure.

Mysteries abound in this course, and in the end, you'll view the world of the Greeks and Romans not as a sequence of historical events but as an immense living organism; a system in which society, culture, and the natural environment interact in dynamic, creative, and sometimes destructive ways.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely Fantastic!

I bought this book because I was looking for something about Greece. I thought it was about Greek architecture because I wasn’t paying that much attention since it was the only choice in Audible in the category of Greek history. So when I first started to listen to it, I was a little disappointed that it was about Greek and Roman Archaeology. Boy did my opinion change.

This audio book has 36 chapters covering the history of archeology, examples of different sites and social aspects (slaves and women).

The author, John Hale, is absolutely amazing. He tells stories in the old tradition, where you sit back and enjoy his voice, and lyrical tale. He somehow is able to wrap up the ending of each chapter with a wonderful bow that leaves you satisfied yet wanting more.

I came from very little knowledge about archaeology and left with a good basic understanding of the study. I will definitely try more of his lectures.

This deserves all the stars possible.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Fantastic ride of passion with an "insider"

Would you listen to Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome again? Why?

It is quite possible that I will revisit parts of the lecture again, since both the passion that Mr. Hale (again) shows for his topic and the personal anecdotes he presents to illustrate the work of archaeologists are motivation to dig out some books again or, at the very least, open you eyes to the world around you.

What about Professor John R. Hale’s performance did you like?

Mr. Hale loves what he does, he is passionate and absolutely able to let his audience participate in his excitement. This is far more than one can say about most scholars, tutors or self-acclaimed specialists on any topic. Even if Mr. Hale at times seems to go a (very tiny) bit overboard with his confidence in what he sees as the "right interpretation", he always manages to get "back on track" and, in comforting contrast to some other lecturers, reminds the student of the "greater picture" and that there might always be more questions than answers in archaeological "evidence".
This is exactly what some European "old school" history professors need: To take one or twenty steps back from their high-handedness, and, may be, get their hands dirty.

Any additional comments?

Mr. Hale takes his audience on a tour through the history of archaeology. He shows what he considers the beginnings of this profession, telling a lot of - both personal and handed down - anecdotes that illustrate how conception of archaeology and its self-image have changed over time.
In the second part he lights up some more or less known excavations (that have been discussed "to death" elsewhere) by putting them into historical context, linking their background to archaeologists he described in his overview of the profession. This gives a far more complete image of what we learn from such undertakings (the excavations) and the interpretation of the findings, it also puts some perspective on what is going on world-wide at ancient sites today.

A really worth-while listening, touching far more than "only" dusty dirty grave-digging.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Excellent material and presentation

I have the DVDs for this course, but I like to listen to this audio when I'm driving. You don't need the visuals to understand the material. Lots of entertaining stories that encourage the listener to find out more. Totally agree with Benoibe - this is audio at its finest.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Appearently, I'm not allowed to give six stars

I've been deeply interested in this subject for many years, but sometimes you learn interesting things from introductory courses, so I figured I would try this one. I was absolutely delighted! It is an excellent introduction to Classical Archaeology, well organized and entertaining. It is also full of diverse characters and ideas. I learned something memorable from every lecture. I strongly recommend this course for both casual listeners new to archaeology, and passionate lovers of history, mystery, and archaeology!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Best Speaker - Professor - EVER

I've listened to many books - many of The Great Courses. John R. Hale is a truly great speaker. He's passionate about history and archaeology. His enthusiasm is infectious - I was sad for this course to end. But that's okay - I'll listen to every course he has available. I'll also listen to this course again - no doubt.

I have a graduate degree - I've attended many lectures for many years. I can assure you - this is a must listen. Rarely, very rarely do you find someone like this - so I say thank you - thank you to John Hale.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • EmilyK
  • Portland, OR, United States
  • 02-12-18

one of the best Great Courses

This is one of the best Great Courses I've listened to. An excellent storyteller, with a captivating voice and sense of humor, you are pulled in from the beginning. This is long and definitely worth the credit, but episodic enough that the segments can be listened to in isolation if listening on a series of commutes. Somehow he melds the history of the field of archaeology itself while also going over some major topics in ancient history.

This one is sure to please anyone who likes history or the Great Courses. My family was frequently pulled into listening even though they had no plans to join in. Hale is one of the best GC lecturers.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Six stars?

Once in a while, I listen to something so good that I feel the need to recalibrate the rest of my ratings. Either I'll need to do that now, or I'll need to come up with a way to give this one six stars.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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just the very best course...

Where does Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is definitely the best of the Great Courses audiobooks I have listened to.

Any additional comments?

The breadth of information in the course was amazing - much more than I expected. Professor Hale covered the history of classical archeology from its very beginnings to cutting edge underwater and animal archeology. He is obviously tremendously knowledgeable but his devotion to the field of archeology was very evident as was his humor.
I was very sorry to reach end of the course.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Engaging Lecturer

Among the dozen or so Great Course lecturers I've listened to, John Hale ranks as the most charming and engaging of the group. His style is very conversational and it never feels as if he's reading from prepared text. My particular favorite moment Hale moment was when he described the Alban Hills near Rome as "unpretentious little volcanoes". The course material itself strikes a nice balance between the history and technique of archaeology and case studies of individual sites. The lectures on Athens's Agora and Delphi were high points of the series for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

For anyone interested in ancient history, these lectures are both enriching and fascinating. Well worth it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Meatslicer
  • 03-09-16

Perfect!

Good speaker, well presented and in a light enough way that didn't get boring. Subject covered comprehensively. Made me even more determined to go for a degree in archaeology!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sam Nutting
  • 08-22-17

Informative and Entertaining

Great series of lectures. Really enjoyed listening to them and learning about the world of archaeology.

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  • Gone to Texas
  • 06-12-16

A seemingly dry subject is made exciting

Would you listen to Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome again? Why?

Yes, I have listened to this more than once. It is a fascinating discussion of archaeology for a newcomer.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

This lecture series is a fascinating survey of the history of archaeology for the newcomer. I did not think I would like it but it is difficult not to carry on to the next lecture all the time to listen to it in one sitting! Highly recommended!

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  • Graeme
  • 03-21-17

Not what I had expected

I should have read the review properly. I did not realise it was actually separate lectures. I wanted it to flow and have more classical content instead of archeology history.

I did not finish or get very far into it.

I do not want to rate it poorly just because it was not what I wanted.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful