A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
BOOKS & MUSEUMS: EDITORS' PICKS
Garden that Ravishes the Heart" and "Pavilion of Delight" once existed in the vibrant and mythical lands along the Silk Road. "Castle of Demons" still does. All are lovingly documented in the simply titled Samarkand, Bukhara, Kiva (Paris: Editions Flammarion, 2003; $60), a hefty, glossy tome celebrating the three capitals of Central Asia. Author Pierre Chuvin's informative yet never overbearing text on the region's historical monuments is well served by an excellent English translation, but the scene-stealer here is Gèrard Degeorge's spectacular photographs of 100- and 1,000-year-old fortresses, mosques, and residences.[More Asia books...]
Mexico's Museo Nacional de Antropología has reopened its Maya hall after three years of renovation, showcasing for the first time its collection of naturalistic ceramic figurines from the island of Jaina. The revamped hall also includes sculptures, lintels, stelae, reliefs, and reproductions of Maya buildings. New interactive kiosks tell the stories behind some 500 objects from one of the world's greatest Maya collections.
Archaeologist Robert J. Meier has set out to write a book that will furnish readers with enough informational nuggets to hold their own in any conversation about our prehistoric ancestors. The lively Complete Idiot's Guide to Human Prehistory (New York: Alpha Books, 2003; $18.95) does the job admirably, focusing mainly on hominid origins and the Old World Paleolithic, though colonization of North America and the Pacific gets thrown into the mix as well.