Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Discs are terrible i just purchased this and received it about two weeks ago. I finished all the lecture. Content was okay, even if I already knew a lot of it. Needed more visuals. However, overall good except: every single disc would freeze and have to be backed up and try to get it to get through the stuck spot. I'm not talking about one or two times: I'm talking 6 to 8 per disc. I am very glad I got this on sale. If I had purchased this full price I would be angry rather than annoyed.
Date published: 2020-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from fascinating intro to a subject I know little about negatives: Wasn't blown away by this guy's overall, ummm, shall we say...smarts? However, taking that out of the equation, the course was excellent. Learned a ton about stuff I knew little about and got a lot of ideas for future travel.
Date published: 2020-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Scratch your travel itch without leaving home This is a beginners guide, but even if you have some background in archeology it is worth it. And since I am stuck at home due to the virus, this course is scratching my travel bug itch.
Date published: 2020-09-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very Disappointing. Information excessive on unimportant and forgettable details; presenter moves hands CONSTANTLY which is impossibly distracting. Presentation set looks artificial because it IS a stage, giving a "primary school" effect to the lectures. Most certainly not enough real fact, none. Few photos, that's all. This is a visual medium but there is not visual stimulation to supplement the learning experience, even taking into account there is incidental minute detail about digs without not nearly enough on what was discovered in the digs.
Date published: 2020-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Choice! Loved the course, loved the instructor. Learned a whole bunch. What more do you need to know?!
Date published: 2020-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting way to tour! I'm really enjoying this course. I love archaeology, but I'm not a scholar. I'm enjoying touring these fascinating sites and learning the history of the site and the archaeology.
Date published: 2020-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Lectures I really enjoyed this lecture series. The material was presented in an engaging voice with interesting anecdotes. It covers the basics of archaeology and the details of great historical finds. It fulfills by historic and adventuring souls.
Date published: 2020-07-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I am enjoying the course Enjoying the course. Having trouble making time for it. A little over committed right now.
Date published: 2020-07-18
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Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites
Course Trailer
The Origins of Modern Archaeology
1: 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
2: 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
3: 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
4: 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?
5: 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
6: 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
7: 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
8: 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
9: 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
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.


University of Pennsylvania


The George Washington University Capitol Archaeological Institute

About Eric H. Cline

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.

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