Considering anew the archeological evidence of catastrophic destruction in Mexico and the eastern Mediterranean, geophysicists Nur and Burgess explore the overlooked role of earthquakes in the downfall of many well-known prehistoric civilizationsTenochtitlan, the Hittite empire, Troy, Mycenae, Jericho and otherswhich archeologists tend to blame on invading armies or social factors. Nur and Burgess compare evidence from modern earthquakes with the structures, debris, human remains and (where possible) written records from ancient catastrophes, finding impressive and alarming support for their archeoseismic theory. Among other conclusions, the authors find evidence that severe earthquakes may occur in quick succession (what they call earthquake storms) separated by long periods of seismic quiet. They also look at the cultural legacy of earthquakes, like the tumultuous impact of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake on European politics and the long-term effects of the 1923 Tokyo earthquake. The authors most important point is that archaeologists, failing to understand these regions vulnerability, have failed to warn modern inhabitants of the danger they live in. With a dire prognosis sure to touch off controversy, this book will rivet fans of archaeology, geology and history. (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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