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Publisher's Summary

What impulse drove ancient cultures to create sites like Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, and the pyramids at Giza? Why are we so transfixed by their presence today? And what do they reveal about our ancestors-and humanity?
The dynamic force of religious belief is responsible for some of the world's most popular and ancient locales.With these 36 riveting lectures, you can dig through the earth and learn how sacred buildings, complexes, tomb structures, artwork, and more have provided us with unparalleled knowledge about early spiritual experiences around the world. Using the tools and knowledge of their field, archaeologists can now determine the nature of a sacrificial ritual, compare the visible attributes of ancient deities, and map out the orientation of a temple or tomb.
Professor Hale gives you a comprehensive look at specific religious archaeological sites around the world-inside caves and crypts, through vast deserts and ancient cities, from Polynesia to Mexico to the American Midwest.
Studying these breathtaking sites such as Lascaux Cave, Machu Picchu, and Easter Island, you learn the points of interest that attract the attention of archaeologists and scholars, survey the principal features unearthed during the site's excavation, discover what evidence at the site reveals about the evolution of religion, and more.
By the final lap of your international journey, you'll have developed a new vision of religion and its crucial role in ancient history. You'll become more attuned to spirituality's universal elements and its unique characteristics. And you'll realize just how much credit religion deserves for remarkable sites that continue to captivate us.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By karen on 08-07-16

My Favorite Course

Any additional comments?

There are 36 lectures:

1. The Roots of Religious Experience
2. Neanderthal Burials at Shanidar
3. Hunting Magic in Sacred Caves
4. Myths of the Shaman
5. Realm of the Mother Goddess
6. Mysteries of the Megaliths
7. Towers and Tombs of Sumeria
8. Tomb of the First Emperor of China
9. Feasting with the Dead at Petra
10. Druid Sacrifice at Lindow Moss?
11. Honoring Ancestors in Ancient Ohio
12. A Viking Queen Sails to Eternity
13. Dancing with Bulls at Knossos
14. Oracle Bones in Ancient China
15. Sun and Sexuality in Early Scandinavia
16. Apollo Speaks at Klaros
17. Chalice of Blood in Ancient Peru
18. Decoding Rituals at Palenque
19. Temple of the Goddess on Malta
20. The Aten—Monotheism in Egypt
21. Deities of the Acropolis
22. Gods and Pyramids at Teotihuacan
23. Sacred City on the Mississippi
24. Sun and Shadow at Machu Picchu
25. Celestial Gateway at Giza
26. Cosmic Hub at Stonehenge
27. Desert Lines at Nazca
28. Skywatchers at Chaco Canyon
29. Mountain of the Gods at Angkor
30. The Stone Heads of Easter Island
31. Tending Zoroaster's Sacred Fire in Iran
32. Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran
33. Taking Religions Underground at Rome
34. Forging Iron at Jenne-jeno on the Niger
35. Carving Monasteries at Ajanta in India
36.Faiths Lost and Found

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Scott on 06-01-16

Interesting but not great

The lecture series covers several early religious traditions but the course lacked a unified idea for a consistent perspective. Somewhat broad but nothing is covered in depth. A bit disappointing but I did learn some items.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anthony Christie on 06-14-15

Superb lecture.

Learned but accessible. Great delivery. Hugely enjoyable and informative. Shows clearly the common elements of religions and their origins throughout human history an across the globe. Highly recommended.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By dirk on 06-24-16

Best course ever

This has it all: the reading, storytelling, vast subject, new and fresh insights. Highly recommended

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tim Dubber on 09-02-16

Excellent course

Having mainly stayed in the history department of the great courses this is my first foray into the religious aspect of world history and culture. a thoroughly entertaining and informative introduction across the breadth of ancient and modern religion from the archaeological perspective.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Rajesh on 06-15-16

Impressive view of archeology

The course covers a brief history of the world from the archeological view.
Covers a range of places from all continents.
I am not sure now, but I think Harappa mohenjodaro site was missed out. Was it not a source of religious practices?
The definitely gave me new perspectives and some facts.
The reading is a bit slow and this is a long course. I put it at 1.25x speed.
Definitely recommend it to all.

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