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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 221.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Only superficial details of the archaeology sites First the lecturer presentation is very smooth, he knows his material, and he has a great deal of personal experience. However, nearly all of course is a history of who did what, where, and when. The descriptions of how sites are found and explored was good. There is, however, very superficial details and explanations of the various sites explored, the extent of the site, what was found, and what it means in the course of history. There are very few pictures or maps of each of the discussed sites. i, unfortunately, had expected many more detailed illustrations and explanations about the actual sites from a title of "Worlds Greatest Sites."
Date published: 2021-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I loved this lecture series. I've recently become obsessed with archaeology and I was very happy to see a series like this offered on TGC+. It was a joy to watch from start to finish. Professor Cline is a great presenter and he's tempted me to come out and help on one of his dig sites just so I can meet him. National Geographic couldn't've picked a better representative in the world of archaeology. I wish this series was 48 lectures instead of 24 because we only got 1/3 of one episode dedicated to archaeology in the Far East and other places outside of the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia. I would like to see a sequel to this focusing on other areas in the world.
Date published: 2021-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very exciting presentation of a very large topic This series of lectures is not designed to be comprehensive, but to give a stimulating overview of the topic. Dr. Cline does an excellent job of this. However, TGC People, I had the audio download version, and Lecture 25 is 1 kb long--basically the title only. If the audio download is not supposed to be furnished with the course, you should remove this fake download or create a real file to be downloaded. Thank you
Date published: 2021-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting but one annoying feature Just started watching the first session and am enjoying the facts presented, but I find it odd that both this course and the Ancient Civilization course give years as BC and AD, rather than the more current neutral terminology of BCE and CE, especially since Cline digs in Israel.
Date published: 2021-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting Lectures & Factoids I purchased this a month ago. As with most of the Great Courses, it did not disappoint. Love his explanation of what archeology is and how he applies it to various sites...piqued my interest!
Date published: 2021-08-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from World’s greatest sites-Europe and near east While intrigued by the content I was disappointed to discover that a Great Courses touting the “World’s Greatest Archaeological Sites” had such a heavy focus on Europe and the Near East/Middle East. Yes we get a smattering of the terra-cotta warriors, combined in an episode with Sutton Hoo and we kiss MesoAmerica but this Course had the opportunity to open our eyes to sites in Africa (not Egypt), Asia and the Americas.
Date published: 2021-07-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointingly amateurish Disappointingly amateurish, especially given the stature of Cline as an archaeologist. The 'lectures' (though this word feels less appropriate than 'episodes') were mostly - with the exception of the much more valuable cases where the subject was actual archaeological practice - a whistelstop tour more suited to bolstering one's trivia arsenal than developing a good understanding and appreciation for archaeology itself.
Date published: 2021-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really interesting and worth the time Our fedoras are off to Prof. Cline for a lecture series that is informative and entertaining. My wife and I have been to a few of the sites that he covered ⸺Saqqara, Gisa, Luxor, Karnak, the Valley [or Gates] of the Kings, Abu Simbel, Petra, Troy, Akrotiri, Delphi, Teotihuacan and Tikal. I was particularly interested in his explanations of how various technologies are employed for identifying subsurface features, dating materials and recording finds. HWF & ISF, Mesa, AZ.
Date published: 2021-06-26
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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
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