J. Lesley Fitton traces this exciting tale of scholarly discovery and weaves it into an engaging, in-depth portrait of Greek Bronze Age civilizations, from their dawning on the Cycladic Isles in the third millennium B.C. to their later flowering in Minoan Crete and then in the Mycenaean centers and finally to their mysterious disappearance in the twelfth century B.C. The result is an elegant assimilation of vast historical detail and a well-illustrated tour of the art and artifacts, the grand palaces and tombs, the mythical heroes and Trojan treasures that form at least one cradle of our own civilization.
Fitton begins with the early finds of travelers, advances in geology, and research into Homer's identity. She vividly recreates the heroic age of the first archaeological excavations, particularly Heinrich Schliemann's fascinating work at Troy and Mycenae, and Arthur Evans's pioneering excavation and restoration of the Palace of Minos on Crete. The persistent search for signs of writing among Bronze Age Greeks culminates in Fitton's description of the 1952 deciphering of the earliest script used to write Greek. And as her account extends into the present, it encompasses the important contributions of the archaeologists Alan Wace and Carl Blegen, the War's impact on research, and a concise summation of current scholarly trends.
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