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Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites

Produced in partnership with National Geographic, and led by a renowned archaeologist, explore over 20 of the most significant and enthralling archaeological sites on the planet.
Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 245.
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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Background Sound Effects are Distracting Disappointed, as I was unable to finish the series, as the background sound effects were distracting and eventually annoying. I exited at lesson 3.
Date published: 2023-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Good Very interesting and very easy to understand. Great program to help learn about history.
Date published: 2023-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and Fun Eric Cline knew he wanted to be an archaeologist when he was seven. I never wanted to become a professional in that area, but I fell in love with the subject when I read C.W. Ceram's "Gods, Graves and Scholars" when I was only a bit older than that. This is a survey course, but Professor Cline's enthusiasm runs through it all, and he makes you want to raise your hand to volunteer for a dig. I especially liked the episodes about the tools of the trade, how archaeologists know where to dig and some of the "behind the scenes" work done by the professionals, none of which I knew before. You get a real armchair tour of the ancient sites presented with clarity and humor.
Date published: 2023-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Instructor, Eric Cline, was excellent. I never lost interest in any of the sessions and learned so much. This series was dated 2016. Is there more recent archaeology info/updates available at this time?
Date published: 2023-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great overview Animated teacher and interesting subject. Enjoyed watching.
Date published: 2023-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well done! We're about half way through, and are finding this course very informative and entertaining. Professor Cline does a great job. He's personable, knowledgeable and projects a great passion for his subject.
Date published: 2023-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An interesting and enjoyable learning experience. I enjoyed this very visual course for its visits to famous sites, historical background of the great discoveries that have been made and the introduction to the methods and technologies archaeologists use. I looked forward to each of my daily encounters with Professor Cline, and learned a great deal. I'd add this: if you have children or grandchildren that you would like to inspire to become enthusiastic learners, consider sharing this course with them. They will enjoy much of the material (who can resist stories of found treasures and mummies?) -- and they will have a good experience in sharing the joy and excitement of learning with you.
Date published: 2023-05-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation. It was easy to understand and basic, covering many sites world wide, with explanations of archaeological techniques, archeologists of historical note and explanation of artifacts discovered. .
Date published: 2023-04-11
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Archaeology brings us face-to-face with our distant ancestors and with life as it was lived in long-ago civilizations. This thrilling new course, produced in partnership with National Geographic, introduces you to over 20 of the most significant archaeological sites on the planet, providing both an in-depth look at the sites themselves and an insider's view of the history, science, and technology of archaeology.


Eric H. Cline

Archaeology not only teaches us about the past, but it also connects us to a broader range of human experiences and enriches our understanding of our present and our future.


The George Washington University Capitol Archaeological Institute
Dr. Eric H. Cline is a Professor of Classics and Anthropology and the current Director of The George Washington University (GWU) Capitol Archaeological Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from Yale University, and a B.A. in Classical Archaeology modified by Anthropology from Dartmouth College. He is also a National Geographic Explorer, a Fulbright Scholar, and a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar. Over more than 30 seasons as an active field archaeologist, he has led excavations and surveys in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, and the United States. A prolific researcher and author of more than 100 articles and reviews, Dr. Cline has also written 16 books, including The Battles of Armageddon: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age; Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel; Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction; and The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction. His book 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed was considered for a Pulitzer Prize in 2015. At GWU, Dr. Cline has won the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence and the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Faculty Scholarship. He is also the recipient of the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award from the Archaeological Institute of America. Dr. Cline has appeared in more than 20 television programs and documentaries, including those on ABC, the BBC, the National Geographic Channel, HISTORY, and the Discovery Channel.

By This Director

Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites
Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites


The Origins of Modern Archaeology

01: The Origins of Modern Archaeology

Begin to investigate what archaeologists actually do, the nature and scope of their work, and popular misconceptions about the field. As an introduction to the course, trace the colorful history of archaeology from its beginnings with the ancient Babylonian king Nabonidus to archaeological luminaries of the 20th century....

32 min
Excavating Pompeii and Herculaneum

02: Excavating Pompeii and Herculaneum

Travel to the iconic sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy-Roman towns that were famously destroyed by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Learn about the history of their excavation, and witness the astonishing preservation of buildings, objects, and human remains. Delve deeper to discover fascinating details of ancient Roman life....

34 min
Schliemann and His Successors at Troy

03: Schliemann and His Successors at Troy

Follow the exploits of Heinrich Schliemann, a 19th-century amateur archaeologist who was determined to find the site of Homer's Troy. Learn about his dig through nine stratified cities, the astonishing finds, and the intense debates concerning which city was the actual Troy. Trace subsequent work at the site and examine the compelling conclusions....

31 min
Early Archaeology in Mesopotamia

04: Early Archaeology in Mesopotamia

Explore the history of phenomenal finds in Mesopotamia, beginning with the 19th-century unearthing of the great Assyrian palaces at Nimrud and Ninevah, with their libraries of cuneiform texts. Also contemplate the 20th-century discovery of the dazzling treasures of the famous "Death Pits of Ur."...

33 min
How Do Archaeologists Know Where to Dig?

05: How Do Archaeologists Know Where to Dig?

This lecture uncovers the methodology archaeologists use in looking for sites. Get acquainted with the uses of remote sensing technologies, such as LiDAR and ground penetrating radar, which enable archaeologists to visualize objects obscured by vegetation and soil. Then investigate ground surveys-reconnaissance done by carefully walking potential sites-which reveal vital information before digging...

30 min
Prehistoric Archaeology

06: Prehistoric Archaeology

Prehistoric archaeology allows us to glimpse the earliest times in hominid and human history. Learn about seminal 20th-century finds of hominids in Africa, which provided clues to the origins of our ancestors from millions of years ago. Then discover the astounding figural cave paintings of Lascaux, Altamira, and Chauvet....

33 min
Gobekli Tepe, Catalhoyuk, and Jericho

07: Gobekli Tepe, Catalhoyuk, and Jericho

Among significant Neolithic (New Stone Age) sites, explore Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, whose imposing stone rings are the oldest known examples of monumental architecture in the early Near East. Continue to Jericho, with its extraordinary tombs and famous tower, and Turkey's Çatalhöyük, noted for its mysterious houses built without doors or windows....

32 min
Pyramids, Mummies, and Hieroglyphics

08: Pyramids, Mummies, and Hieroglyphics

In the first of two lectures on the wonders of Egyptology, learn about the deciphering of hieroglyphics through the legendary Rosetta Stone. Also explore the intriguing techniques of ancient Egyptian embalming and mummification, and get the stories behind the building of the Step Pyramid of Zozer, the Pyramids at Giza, and the Sphinx....

30 min
King Tut's Tomb

09: King Tut's Tomb

Trace the events that led Egyptologist Howard Carter to the dramatic discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922. Witness the unfolding excavation of the site, and uncover the spectacular treasures of the tomb. Consider why the tomb of a young and short-lived king might have contained such a vast display of wealth....

32 min
How Do You Excavate at a Site?

10: How Do You Excavate at a Site?

Here, delve into the specifics of how to perform an archaeological dig. Learn about the physical tools of the trade, how to excavate objects in the ground, and how a dig's schedule unfolds. Learn about strategies in the field such as "vertical" and "horizontal" excavations, and walk through the process of organizing an archaeological project....

29 min
Discovering Mycenae and Knossos

11: Discovering Mycenae and Knossos

Follow the archaeological search for King Agamemnon at Mycenae, and ponder the discovery of striking tomb objects as well as the palace from which the Mycenaeans sailed for Troy. From there, uncover the majestic palace of the Minoans at Knossos, with its vibrant wall paintings and perilous court rituals of bull-leaping....

33 min
Santorini, Akrotiri, and the Atlantis Myth

12: Santorini, Akrotiri, and the Atlantis Myth

Visit the famously beautiful Greek island of Santorini, whose picturesque topography resulted from a volcanic eruption in the second millennium B.C. Explore the site of Akrotiri, a town buried under volcanic ash, renowned for masterful wall paintings reflecting ancient Aegean trade. Trace intriguing connections between the volcano's destruction and the myth of Atlantis....

31 min
The Uluburun Shipwreck

13: The Uluburun Shipwreck

The Uluburun shipwreck, a vessel that sank in 1300 B.C. off the coast of what is now modern Turkey, ranks among the greatest archaeological finds of all time. Learn about its remarkable underwater excavation, and wonder at the ship's fabulous cargo, from ancient raw materials such as copper ingots and ivory to lavish finished goods and dazzling jewelry....

31 min
The Dead Sea Scrolls

14: The Dead Sea Scrolls

The unearthing of the Dead Sea Scrolls revolutionized the field of biblical studies. Investigate the events that led to their discovery in 1947, and consider their extraordinary contents, which shed light on the Hebrew Bible through texts from over 2,000 years ago. Learn also about the fascinating finds in other nearby caves....

33 min
The Myth of Masada?

15: The Myth of Masada?

The excavation of Masada-the ancient mountain stronghold of Jewish rebels against Rome-was a milestone for archaeology. Explore the discoveries at the site, hear the harrowing story of its defense, and contemplate the controversy surrounding the use of a first-century historical account in interpreting the archaeological evidence....

33 min
Megiddo: Excavating Armageddon

16: Megiddo: Excavating Armageddon

The site of Megiddo in northern Israel comprises more than twenty ancient cities, built one atop the other. Trace the excavations there over the last century, and examine the discovery of Neo-Assyrian palaces, lavish Bronze Age tombs, monumental temples, and other treasures at one of the most important archaeological sites in the Near East....

30 min
The Canaanite Palace at Tel Kabri

17: The Canaanite Palace at Tel Kabri

Enjoy a firsthand look at archaeological fieldwork as Professor Cline recounts his own excavations at Israel's Tel Kabri. Follow the work at the site from 2005 to 2015, centering on an elaborate Bronze Age Canaanite palace, its striking architectural features, and the oldest and largest wine cellar ever discovered in the ancient Near East....

32 min
Petra, Palmyra, and Ebla

18: Petra, Palmyra, and Ebla

Here, visit three superlative sites in Jordan and Syria. Begin at Petra, with its breathtaking tombs and temples carved into the face of cliffs. At the desert oasis of Palmyra, explore the site's extraordinary Greco-Roman and Persian architecture. Finish at the great citadel of Ebla, famous for its enormous cache of ancient tablets....

32 min
How Are Artifacts Dated and Preserved?

19: How Are Artifacts Dated and Preserved?

Observe how the measurement of factors such as electromagnetic radiation, hydration, and carbon content can reveal the age of excavated objects. Examine how particular environmental conditions can preserve organic material over centuries or millennia. Finally, take account of the looting of antiquities and its impact on the world's archaeological heritage....

32 min
The Terra-cotta Army, Sutton Hoo, and Otzi

20: The Terra-cotta Army, Sutton Hoo, and Otzi

Among the more unusual archaeological finds, investigate the accidental discovery of China's terra-cotta army, with its spectacular clay warriors, horses, and chariots. Ponder the "accidental preservation" of a 7th-century ship at Sutton Hoo in England, and conclude with cases of remarkable preservation of human remains in bogs, ice, and desert environments....

33 min
Discovering the Maya

21: Discovering the Maya

Trace the unearthing of the great Maya civilizations in the 19th century, and revel in the excitement of the recent "cracking" of Maya hieroglyphics. Contemplate the extraordinary temple-pyramids, tombs, and athletic courts of the Maya; consider the use of remote sensing technology in uncovering Maya structures; and explore the premier sites of Copán, Palenque, Tikal, and Chichén Itz...

33 min
The Nazca Lines, Sipan, and Machu Picchu

22: The Nazca Lines, Sipan, and Machu Picchu

Continue with three stellar South American sites: First, ponder the mysteries of the Nazca Lines, giant animal and human figures etched in the soil of the Peruvian desert. Then visit the New World's richest unlooted tomb, that of the "Lord of Sipán," and finish at Machu Picchu, glorious city of the Incas....

31 min
Archaeology in North America

23: Archaeology in North America

Journey into the archaeological heritage of North America, beginning with the excavation of the Hunley, a Confederate submarine from the U.S. Civil War. Investigate the unearthing of colonial Jamestown, Virginia; consider the impact of the 9,000-year-old "Kennewick Man"; and learn about legislation enacted to protect archaeological finds in the U.S....

33 min
From the Aztecs to Future Archaeology

24: From the Aztecs to Future Archaeology

Finally, travel to the site of Tenochtitlan, buried under modern Mexico City, and to Teotihuacan, with its vast pyramids and temples along the Avenue of the Dead. Conclude the course by considering how future archaeologists may interpret our own culture someday, and reflect on archaeology's contributions to our collective knowledge and our humanity....

40 min