Apocalypse: Earthquakes, Archaeology, and the Wrath of God.

AuthorGooden, Lee
PositionBook review

Work Title: Apocalypse: Earthquakes, Archaeology, and the Wrath of God

Work Author(s): Amos Nur and Dawn Burgess

Princeton University Press

102 b/w photos and illustrations, 304 pages, Hardcover $26.95


ISBN: 9780691016023

Reviewer: Lee Gooden

The proper pursuit of any science involves the knowledge of many disciplines, and archaeology should be no exception. Some archaeologists and anthropologists, however, disregard the findings of geologists. With braggadocios and pomposity they dismiss any ideas that do not involve man decimating his own culture through war with invading armies, civil conflicts over religious strife, and/or political upheavals. The theory that earthquakes may have caused the destruction of many ancient cities is unpopular and controversial, even though the ruins of Mycenae, Sparta, and Bet Shean all show signs of geological devastation.

Amos Nur (with Dawn Burgess) illustrates these ideas with convincing prose and meticulous research. Nur writes, "The either/or debates that rage in archaeological circles imply a strange separation of the human world from the natural world, as if earthquakes would hold off until human conflicts were resolved...The suggestion that the two are inevitably linked is seen as a capitulation, a sign of a weak theory that must be bolstered by unlikely coincidences."

Even when there is overwhelming evidence that an earthquake has occurred, like fault scarps within walls, fallen columns, and crushed human remains; the scientific community...

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