I’ve always had a fascination with archaeology and ancient civilizations, and hopefully I’m not alone! It’s a subject area that I enjoy reading about, and there’s always something to learn. Do you also have a fascination with the past? Are there any time periods that especially interest you? Today, let’s have a quick look at the Bronze Age.
In an ever-more interconnected world, what lessons can we learn from the past? I recently re-read Eric H. Cline’s 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed, which examines why a number of civilizations collapsed in the Late Bronze Age using archaeological research. One thing is clear – the interconnectedness of these civilizations meant that if one of them experienced natural disasters, warfare, or another factor that negatively affected them, then others would also become affected. Cline provides interesting information about these societies, based on current research, and includes the Egyptians, Hittites, Mycenaeans, Assyrians, and others, who interacted and relied upon one another.
We also have Season 1 of National Geographic’s Archaeology: An Introduction to the World’s Greatest Sites available on Hoopla (free with your VPL library membership, and presented by Cline. Episodes relating to the Late Bronze Age include: Schliemann and His Successors at Troy (Episode 3), Discovering Mycenae and Knossos (Episode 11), The Uluburun Shipwreck (Episode 13), Megiddo: Excavating Armageddon (Episode 16), The Canaanite Palace at Tel Kabri (Episode 17), and others. I haven’t had a chance to watch any of them yet, however, they do sound intriguing! Cline also wrote Ancient Empires: From Mesopotamia to the Rise of Islam, which I also haven’t read, but sounds interesting.
If you’d prefer something else which examines the myth of the Trojan War specifically, try Ruby Blondell’s Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation, which looks at the archetypal Helen, while Bettany Hughes’ Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore examines Helen as a possible historical figure. There’s also The Real Trojan Horse, from the Secrets of the Dead PBS series, and The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson, which is quite a personal work exploring why these epics endure.
If you’re more interested in ancient Egypt during the Bronze Age, there’s The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney (about Hatshepsut) Ultimate Tut (about Pharaoh Tutankhamen), also from the PBS series Secrets of the Dead, along with other items in our collection. Or maybe you’re interested in taking a course? Vaughan Public Libraries offers access to sites that offer free courses, and online databases that could sate your curiosity.
I know that I personally can’t wait for more discoveries and new information about this time period. What about you?