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There may be a wide gap between uncritical belief and hard-line skepticism, but that doesn't mean many writers have chosen to explore this territory. Now science writer Peter James and archaeologist Dr. Nick Thorpe have teamed up again to examineAncient Mysteries, pledging allegiance to no theory or theorist, free to explore any explanation supported by the evidence. As often happens, they must finally throw up their hands in confusion, but getting there is half the fun.

Did King Arthur really exist? Who was Robin Hood? How did the enormous stone heads of Easter Island find their way to their resting places? Why did the Mayans disappear? These are some of the 37 big questions tackled by James and Thorpe in nearly 700 pages. A few of their selections may seem curious when compared to the puzzles that have gripped us for centuries, but overall their penetrating analyses of legend and archaeological data are fascinating and engagingly written. For those who can tolerate a bit of uncertainty in their reading, Ancient Mysteries will be a profoundly satisfying look into the fuzzy boundaries of our knowledge. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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review by . December 21, 2012
James and Thorpe have compiled a catalog of compelling conundrums of history and archaeology. While books like this often veer toward naive acceptance or super critical scientific skepticism of these apparently unbelievable events, places, people, or discoveries, these authors steer a middle-ground, considering the craziest of ideas, but usually debunking them with logic, research, and scientific evidence.   This process of consideration, comparison, and resolution gives this book a zing …
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