THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DEBATE over the year as to whether or not the much-vaunted wave of interest in history has spilled out of the television screen into publishing (or at least moved beyond the small number of heavily promoted best-sellers to include the whole field). Certainly there's no want of trying, on the part of either publishers or writers; here we offer a brief introduction of some of the best new titles.
PREHISTORY AND ANCIENT EGYPT
The enduring mystery of prehistoric cave art, and its possible meanings for our understanding of what it means to be human, is explored in a challenging manner by David Lewis-Williams in The Mind in the Cave (Thames & Hudson, 18.95 [pounds sterling]).
An updated, pocket-sized version of The British Museum: Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by lan Shaw and Paul Nicholson (British Museum Press, 14.99 [pounds sterling]) provides a detailed exploration of 4,000 years of Egyptian history.
The Egyptian Book of Living and Dying by Joann Fletcher (Duncan Baird, 14.99 [pounds sterling]) explores afterlife beliefs and rituals of Egyptian civilization.
Death and Burial in Ancient Egypt by Salima Ikram (Longman, 19.99 [pounds sterling]) also studies the beliefs, magic and rituals of eternal existence and the afterlife in antiquity.
Ranging through 4,000 years of predictions, dreams and visions, Prophecies by Tony Allan (Duncan Baird, 14.99 [pounds sterling]) is an overview of a tradition common to numerous societies, from the ancient world to the present.
The Pyramid by Jonathan Stamp (BBC Books, 16.99 [pounds sterling]) questions established theories on how the great man-made structures were built, while exploring the newest discoveries relating to the ancient world.
Adventures in Egypt and Nubia: The Travels of William John Bankes (1786-1855) by Patricia Usick (British Museum Press, 25 [pounds sterling]) chronicles the colourful life and work of a pioneering Egyptologist, who collected hieroglyphs and detailed drawings and notes on ancient monuments after 1815.
Espionage in the Ancient World: An Annotated Bibliography of Books and Articles in Western Languages by Rose Mary Sheldon (McFarland, 34.95 [pounds sterling]) is a guide to the intelligence and covert operations of antiquity.
Peoples of the Past: Minoans by J. Lesley Fitton (British Museum Press, 29.99 [pounds sterling]) assesses the culture of ancient Crete and its impact on its neighbours, using the latest archaeological discoveries to explore the economic, social and religious life of the civilization.
Lost Civilizations: Rediscovering Ancient Sites Through New Technology by
Austen Atkinson (Chrysalis Books, 25 [pounds sterling]) investigates, among other topics, the Palace of King Minos.
Written by presenters of the television series `Time Team', Archaeology is Rubbish by Tony Robinson and Mick Aston (Channel 4 Books, 20 [pounds sterling]) celebrates the stories and techniques behind the excavations' of the nation's hidden heritage. …