Regular price: $41.95

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

What impulse drove ancient cultures to create sites like Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, and the pyramids at Giza? Why are we so transfixed by their presence today? And what do they reveal about our ancestors-and humanity?

The dynamic force of religious belief is responsible for some of the world's most popular and ancient locales.With these 36 riveting lectures, you can dig through the earth and learn how sacred buildings, complexes, tomb structures, artwork, and more have provided us with unparalleled knowledge about early spiritual experiences around the world. Using the tools and knowledge of their field, archaeologists can now determine the nature of a sacrificial ritual, compare the visible attributes of ancient deities, and map out the orientation of a temple or tomb.

Professor Hale gives you a comprehensive look at specific religious archaeological sites around the world-inside caves and crypts, through vast deserts and ancient cities, from Polynesia to Mexico to the American Midwest.

Studying these breathtaking sites such as Lascaux Cave, Machu Picchu, and Easter Island, you learn the points of interest that attract the attention of archaeologists and scholars, survey the principal features unearthed during the site's excavation, discover what evidence at the site reveals about the evolution of religion, and more.

By the final lap of your international journey, you'll have developed a new vision of religion and its crucial role in ancient history. You'll become more attuned to spirituality's universal elements and its unique characteristics. And you'll realize just how much credit religion deserves for remarkable sites that continue to captivate us.

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

©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    124
  • 4 Stars
    61
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    5

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    129
  • 4 Stars
    55
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    110
  • 4 Stars
    51
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

My Favorite Course

Any additional comments?

There are 36 lectures:<br/><br/>1. The Roots of Religious Experience<br/>2. Neanderthal Burials at Shanidar<br/>3. Hunting Magic in Sacred Caves<br/>4. Myths of the Shaman<br/>5. Realm of the Mother Goddess<br/>6. Mysteries of the Megaliths<br/>7. Towers and Tombs of Sumeria<br/>8. Tomb of the First Emperor of China<br/>9. Feasting with the Dead at Petra<br/>10. Druid Sacrifice at Lindow Moss?<br/>11. Honoring Ancestors in Ancient Ohio<br/>12. A Viking Queen Sails to Eternity<br/>13. Dancing with Bulls at Knossos<br/>14. Oracle Bones in Ancient China<br/>15. Sun and Sexuality in Early Scandinavia<br/>16. Apollo Speaks at Klaros<br/>17. Chalice of Blood in Ancient Peru<br/>18. Decoding Rituals at Palenque<br/>19. Temple of the Goddess on Malta<br/>20. The Aten—Monotheism in Egypt<br/>21. Deities of the Acropolis<br/>22. Gods and Pyramids at Teotihuacan<br/>23. Sacred City on the Mississippi<br/>24. Sun and Shadow at Machu Picchu<br/>25. Celestial Gateway at Giza<br/>26. Cosmic Hub at Stonehenge<br/>27. Desert Lines at Nazca<br/>28. Skywatchers at Chaco Canyon<br/>29. Mountain of the Gods at Angkor<br/>30. The Stone Heads of Easter Island<br/>31. Tending Zoroaster's Sacred Fire in Iran<br/>32. Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran<br/>33. Taking Religions Underground at Rome<br/>34. Forging Iron at Jenne-jeno on the Niger<br/>35. Carving Monasteries at Ajanta in India<br/>36.Faiths Lost and Found

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Scott
  • United States
  • 06-01-16

Interesting but not great

The lecture series covers several early religious traditions but the course lacked a unified idea for a consistent perspective. Somewhat broad but nothing is covered in depth. A bit disappointing but I did learn some items.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

misnomer

This course of lectures should have been called An Archaeology of Religioun. It is a good review of archaeological discoveries on the last couple of centuries, which is accompanied by a brief overview of religions and creeds ftom all over the world. In that respect the course deserves every commendation. To claim that the roots of the religions have been explored the author has no right.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent Course 5 Stars

This is an absolutely great course. The information is presented in clear, concise and insightful historical perspectives. The factual aspects of the archeological work is clearly detailed along with all possible interpretations of their findings. The course leaves the listener with a great deal of information from which to draw his/her own conclusions concerning the origins of religion and it's various cultural beliefs and practices. I highly recommend this course.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Archaeology first hand - one of the best courses

Would you listen to Exploring the Roots of Religion again? Why?

I may listen to the course again to give me starting points for more in depth explorations of archaeological sites, religious cults and ideas that can be found all over the world through all times.

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

Mr. Hale has "been there, done that". <br/>He breathes, he lives and he loves what he is talking about. At times that may actually distract him from the topic he thought he planned to stick to (and then, sometimes, he remembers that he had to finish a sentence somewhere), but it has exactly been this personal, engaged, believable approach to both archaeology and "roots of religion" that, to me, make this course one of the best purchases I made on Audible - along with "how to listen to and understand great music", which puts marks on exactly the same checking points.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Oh, please, if it just was possible to have Douglas Adams write and perform the commentary, John Hale be the presenter of the actual sites and Richard O'Brien write the incidental music score - I would actually go to a cinema again, for the first time in over 10 years! <br/>Maybe get Honess to do the editing and G. Fisher for cinematography (look up the first "Highlander" if those names don't mean nothing to you) ...<br/><br/>Tag line? What about "If world ended tomorrow, you'd still have to watch this"?

Any additional comments?

My resume may sound a bit over-excited, so in order to put it back into its place, let me admit that I had to take a break (the fourth) from Daniel Robinson's "The Great Ideas of Philosophy" with its fundamental Christian bias, his unbearable preaching performance and drowsy narration. This shocking change of experience may explain, to some degree, why I fell in love with Mr. Hale (in a way, you get the picture). <br/>Sure, being the German nit-pick that I am: Mr. Hale could have opened Webster's encyclopedia and have a look what the colleagues have to say about "Sarsen stones" (they seem to be quite sure that the word "Sarsen" is a derivative of "Sarazens" (saracen) and basically means "pagan". There are a few examples like this where one might get the impression that "listening to other discipline's theories" at times might even help the most experienced archaeologist ... But, really, since I am now getting back to Mr. Robinson's "everything that is not Christian is just stupid and a waste" theories, I did not even notice those hickups.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

good but...

the performance was perfect but the book was 80% archeological story rather than historical.
i expected to analyze the religions from anthropological and historical point of view.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Phenomenal Lecturer

This lecture series is phenomenal. The lecturer is clear and precise in statements and has presented the material in a well organized way. 10/10 would listen again

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Siri
  • Tromsø, Norway
  • 07-11-16

Best course jet

As a student myself I love too learn new things and this course is till now my favorite. I have taken a few of them, and this one is really good. I can recommend it for many people who are after improving themselves.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Another Great listen by a great narrator :)

The first 10 and last 6 lectures were ver y interesting and engaging more than others.. Yet, these lectures overall were informative and fun to listen to!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great course on The Archaeology of Religion

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

What a great course. Dr. Hale is a great lecturer and did a wonderful job with the material.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anthony Christie
  • 06-14-15

Superb lecture.

Learned but accessible. Great delivery. Hugely enjoyable and informative. Shows clearly the common elements of religions and their origins throughout human history an across the globe. Highly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • dirk
  • 06-24-16

Best course ever

This has it all: the reading, storytelling, vast subject, new and fresh insights. Highly recommended

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Arnold Cossor
  • 11-29-15

Superb Course

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Recommend this audiobook to a friend because it is a superb study of the subject and extremely well presented.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Each lecture was self-contained and a very interesting in its own right but if I was asked to pick one favourite area it would be the study of Zoroastrianism. This was a subject that I knew virtually nothing about. However the study of the Vikings, Chinese and early American peoples was just as fascinating.

What does Professor John R. Hale bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Professor John R. Hale is a superb lecturer and continually keeps you interested by varying the perspective on the subject.

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

Far too long to listen to in one go! I was able to listen to 2 lectures in one day but any more than that and you will lose the impact of the information being presented.

Any additional comments?

I have listened to all of this lecturer's courses in the great courses range now and each one has been extremely good. I really do hope that he does some more of these courses in this format.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Bagatha
  • 09-20-17

Really enjoyable course.

What made the experience of listening to Exploring the Roots of Religion the most enjoyable?

I have repeatedly listened to this course, it is packed with fascinating information and delivered in a clear & interesting way by Professor Hale - one of my favourites.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Stuart Sorensen
  • 03-20-16

Fascinating

I loved this series. Really informative and kept my interest throughout! I thoroughly recommend it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tim Dubber
  • 09-02-16

Excellent course

Having mainly stayed in the history department of the great courses this is my first foray into the religious aspect of world history and culture. a thoroughly entertaining and informative introduction across the breadth of ancient and modern religion from the archaeological perspective.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Rajesh
  • 06-15-16

Impressive view of archeology

The course covers a brief history of the world from the archeological view.
Covers a range of places from all continents.
I am not sure now, but I think Harappa mohenjodaro site was missed out. Was it not a source of religious practices?
The definitely gave me new perspectives and some facts.
The reading is a bit slow and this is a long course. I put it at 1.25x speed.
Definitely recommend it to all.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tracey
  • 01-31-16

loved it

loved it great stories told in a interesting and easily inderstandable way. totally recomend this course.