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The newest title in the highly successful “Wonders of Creation Series” is The Archaeology Book by David Down. Just published in February 2010, this book includes a new multi-age format. Each chapter provides introductory material suitable for grades 5-6, elaboration on the topic which is suitable for grades 7-8, and further details which raise questions concerning controversial issues such as dating techniques. This latter section is provided for grades 9-11 or other interested readers.

Beautifully illustrated with many full colour photographs and illustrations, the book introduces the readers to ancient ruins believed to be the sites where certain Biblical events took place. There are maps, photographs of ancient ruins and other artifacts, first person accounts of visits to some sites, as well as other illustrative drawings. It is impossible not to become excited about the topic!

In his introduction, the author discusses the difficult issue of dating of archaeological sites and the difficulty of compiling a chronological account of when things happened. This is an extremely important question because, as the author points out, an assigned date too old or too recent, could mean that the historical record as read from the ruins, does not match the Biblical account. For example, one expert, by reinterpreting the age of the ruins at Jericho, declared that there was no such city at the time of Joshua! Others, of course, dispute her dating methods. Obviously one has to be very aware of how sites are dated, and this the book describes.

The discussion of the various ancient ruins is organized on a geographic basis. Thus the discussion of sites which were occupied at various times from immediately post flood, to New Testament times, are potentially all included within one chapter (if they all are found in the same region). As one moves from one chapter to the next, it can be difficult to figure out if these next sites are older, or younger or the same age as the sites discussed in the previous chapter. The big five questions discussed for each chapter include “who, what, where, why and how.” These are all very interesting issues. However in my opinion, it is a mistake to omit consideration of “when” for the specific sites. A time line provided at the back of the book, would have been helpful for the reader to figure out which Old Testament pagan kings came first and which were later and thus which sites are older than others. Perhaps this could be a good research project for the student, to draw up a suitable time line of events.

At any rate, this new title is certain to be a very helpful addition to the collection of books which seek to educate, entertain and provoke the interest of youthful readers and students. One of the popular features of this series has been the excellent illustrations which encourage everyone to read the text. This title has more text, because it seeks to initiate interest at a broader range of reading levels. The illustrations however are so cleverly placed, that one hardly notices that one is being asked to read more text!

For students who are interested in Bible/ancient history or just plain adventure, this book is highly recommended.

David Down. 2010. The Archaeology Book. Master Books.  96 pages.

July 2010

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