Dig­ging Up Armaged­don: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon

  • From the Publisher
March 23, 2013

In 1925, James Hen­ry Breast­ed, famed Egyp­tol­o­gist and direc­tor of the Ori­en­tal Insti­tute at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go, sent a team of archae­ol­o­gists to the Holy Land to exca­vate the ancient site of Megid­do — Armaged­don in the New Tes­ta­ment — which the Bible says was for­ti­fied by King Solomon. Their exca­va­tions made head­lines around the world and shed light on one of the most leg­endary cities of bib­li­cal times, yet lit­tle has been writ­ten about what hap­pened behind the scenes. Dig­ging Up Armaged­don brings to life one of the most impor­tant archae­o­log­i­cal expe­di­tions ever under­tak­en, describ­ing the site and what was found there, includ­ing dis­cov­er­ies of gold and ivory, and pro­vid­ing an up-close look at the inter­nal work­ings of a dig in the ear­ly years of bib­li­cal archaeology.

The Chica­go team left behind a trove of writ­ings and cor­re­spon­dence span­ning more than three decades, from let­ters and cable­grams to cards, notes, and diaries. Eric Cline draws on these mate­ri­als to paint a com­pelling por­trait of a bygone age of archae­ol­o­gy. He mas­ter­ful­ly sets the expe­di­tion against the back­drop of the Great Depres­sion in Amer­i­ca and the grow­ing trou­bles and ten­sions in British Man­date Pales­tine. He gives read­ers an insider’s per­spec­tive on the debates over what was uncov­ered at Megid­do, the infight­ing that roiled the expe­di­tion, and the stun­ning dis­cov­er­ies that trans­formed our under­stand­ing of the ancient world.

Dig­ging Up Armaged­don is the enthralling sto­ry of an archae­o­log­i­cal site in the inter­war years and its remark­able place at the cross­roads of history.

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