The First Fossil Hunters and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
  • RRP: £12.95
  • You Save: £0.90 (7%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
The First Fossil Hunters:... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Sold by fatbrainbooks
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: May contain minimal notes added by highlighter and/or pen and may be slightly damaged. Dispatch Same Working Day, (Delivery 2-4 business days, Courier For Heavy/Expensive Items) Money Back Guarantee, 99.3% Customer Satisfaction
Trade in your item
Get a £2.25
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times Paperback – 27 Mar 2011


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£12.05
£7.04 £7.03
£12.05 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times + The Science of Monsters
Price For Both: £25.04

Buy the selected items together


Trade In this Item for up to £2.25
Trade in The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £2.25, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; With a New introduction by the author edition (27 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691150133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691150130
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

"Adrienne Mayor has . . . done some digging deep into the past and found literary and artistic clues--and not a few huge fossils--that seem to explain the inspiration for many of the giants, monsters, and other strange creatures in the mythology of antiquity."--John Noble Wilford, The New York Times

"[Mayor] has done an admirable job . . . [she] easily persuades us that these early writers indeed recorded a palaeontological bonanza centuries before the first dinosaur remains were recognised by modern science."--Richard Fortey, London Review of Books

"Refreshing. . . . Mayor presents her case with an engaging zeal. . . . By the end of the book, you will find yourself filled with enthusiasm for following Mayor's lead in breaking down interdisciplinary boundaries and thus enriching your understanding of the human experience."--Kate A. Robson Brown, Natural History

"A historical and scientific detective story of first rank. . . . Her results are as striking as they are entertaining. . . . The book will engage specialists with its serious purpose and extensive documentation and will please all readers with its profusion of maps, photographs, and drawings."--Mott T. Greene, Science

"The First Fossil Hunters brings together mythology, art geology and paleontology in a convincing matter. . . . In times long past, others had the same fascination we do today with the sight, feel and sense of something once living and now extinct."--Tim Tokaryk, American Scientist

"Merging the fields of paleontology, archaeology and classical literature, Mayor's research has uncovered striking correlations between modern fossil finds and many of the myths and folklore that sprang up in early Western civilization."--Bryn Nelson, Newsday

"Mayor [combines] the skills of the literary scholar with those of a dinosaur hunter . . . [A]lthough readers will learn a good deal here about the remains of mammoths and protoceratops, they will learn much more about human imagination, that fertile source of science, of legend and of fraud."--Booklist

"A surprising account of material overlooked or misunderstood by both historians of science and interpreters of Greek myth . . . [T]his is clear, readable, and convincing."--Kirkus Reviews

"Mayor presents her case with an engaging zeal, describing her sleuthing efforts at length . . . By the end of the book, you will find yourself filled with enthusiasm for following Mayor's lead in breaking down interdisciplinary boundaries and thus enriching your understanding of the human experience."--Kate A. Robson Brown, Natural History

"The First Fossil Hunters brings together mythology, art, geology, and paleontology in a convincing manner. . . . Mayor's chronicles do more that entertain; as she contends, they also show that people of Greek and Roman times had a broad understanding of fossils as organic remains of extinct organisms . . ."--Tim Tokary, American Scientist

"Mayor tells a fascinating story of ancient encounters with fossils, setting modern palaeontology beside ancient art and literature . . ."--Helen King, Times Literary Supplement

"In many ways, this book resembles a detective story. When the author gets on the track of something, she follows it wherever it leads. . . . The First Fossil Hunters will be a revelation to anyone interested in ancient history. For me, it is one of the best books of recent years."--Walter Friedrich, Times Higher Education Supplement

"While the book is aimed at academics and presumes knowledge of contemporary debates on the power of the presidency, it is not too abstruse for the current-events minded reader. . . . And if you're a journalist or author researching the office of the presidency, it's essential."--Lauren Mandell, NationalJournal.com

"After reading Mayor's The First Fossil Hunters one thing is certain. You'll never look at classical mythology--or at the history of paleontology--the same way again."--Steve Voynick, Rock and Gem

"In her introduction Adrienne Mayor takes palaeontologists and historians of palaeontology to task. At best there has been accidental ignorance and at worst wilful avoidance and misrepresentation of how much the Greeks and Romans knew about fossils . . . Mayor proceeds to make her case with detailed 'chapter and verse' from the ancients. It is indeed impressive and generally very convincing"--Douglas Palmer, Geological Magazine

"This book is a pleasure to read. . . . The insight into human behavior is enough to attract anthropologists and laypeople to read this fascinating account of paleontology in ancient times."--Deborah Ruscillo, American Journal of Archaeology

"Adrienne Mayor's thought-provoking book will mark a watershed in the approach to griffins and giants. . . For both its innovative method and its results, this well-balanced and vividly written book belongs on the bookshelf of every historian of natural sciences."--Liliane Bodson, Isis

"Marshaling the array of evidence available from scholarly and popular works, and contributing her own research, Mayor shows that far from ignoring fossils, many Native American groups took great notice of them and developed elaborate myths to explain their origin. . . . Though Mayor is careful not to homogenize native myths, she does note that virtually all of them exhibit a sense of "deep time," as geologists call it: an awareness that the world has existed for far longer than humans have walked it."--Eric A. Powell, Archaeology

"Classical Corner fans will love the extensive 'Ancient Testimonia' appendix, with quotations on obvious fossil finds from numerous Greek and Roman sources--some so undeservedly obscure that these are their first English translations."--Matt Salusbury, Fortean Times

"Every classical historian, philologist, or philosopher should know this enlightening work; every library that does not have the 2000-2001 edition should acquire its reissue. An attractive price and excellent presentation ought to make it a good seller to individuals as well."--Victor Castellani, European Legacy

From the Back Cover

"In this wonderful book, Adrienne Mayor successfully convinces us that some of our most treasured mythical creatures really were based on the skeletons of extinct animals. It is the best account ever concerning the real meaning of mythical creatures. And Mayor has succeeded in setting the history of paleontology on its ear: the art of skeletal restoration was not invented in the western world."--Jack Horner, Museum of the Rockies, author of Dinosaur Lives

"Adrienne Mayor's sometimes provocative and always fascinating blend of history, mythology, and science offers a uniquely enriched dimension to the quest for fossils."--Michael Novacek, American Museum of Natural History

"The Greeks were not the only peoples of antiquity to exploit the past in the interests of devising myth and history, but they were among the most ingenious about it, and recorded their views. Adrienne Mayor has uncovered a barely noticed source for many of the myths of the Old World, and for the first time has assembled in an orderly way the evidence for early man's discovery of and explanations for fossil remains. This is a skillful blend of science, history and imagination which adds a chapter to the history of man's ingenuity, from Central Asia to Greece, to Egypt. Many texts, sites, and pictures will never seem quite the same again, after this very thorough and very lively scholarly excursion into a disregarded source of myth-making."--John Boardman, Oxford University

"A brilliant book, full of new insights into the myths and past of the ancient Greeks. Earthshakingly important."--Robin Lane Fox, author of Alexander the Great

"An enthralling book. . . . A fascinating account of ancient Greek responses to fossils of extinct mammal species."--David Sedley, author of Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity

"Mayor catches one's attention with her first sentence and doesn't let go until the end . . . In addition to being lively and intelligent, the writing is honest and persuasive. Bringing together classics, archaeology, and paleontology in an original synthesis, Mayor exemplifies in her own research her plea that these fields should profitably confer with one another much more than they do."--William Hansen, Indiana University, Bloomington


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Palaeontology seems like such a modern academic discipline, one that relies very much on advances in modern scientific knowledge. We know now how and why fossils are created, what they are and where they came from - but I suspect many people, like myself, have rarely stopped to think about how our ancestors may have viewed these massive bones and relics. In the modern era we go looking for such things, but hundreds and thousands of years ago people often just stumbled across them, via agriculture, erosion, climatic upheaval. What did they think they were?

Mayor argues that we can in fact determine how the ancient Greeks and Romans incorporated these fossils into their worldview, via their art, literature and mythology. The mythical griffin, for example, she argues, was based on the skeletal remains of protoceratops preserved in the sands of the Gobi Desert. Or the legend of the Cyclops was based on the discovery of prehistoric elephant and mammoth skulls, the large hole in the skull for the trunk mistaken for a single eye socket.

Greek literature and historical records are full of reports of the findings of giants' and heroes' remains, all given the stamp of authenticity through Greek mythology, and often given ceremonial burials. Ajax, Achilles, Theseus, the list goes on. Scholars have traditionally dismissed these reports as the credulity of simpler minds in ages past, but these ancient peoples really did find giant bones. There is ample testimony of fossils found in temples and in sacred sites through Greece, Italy, Persia, Egypt, North Africa. Not having the benefit of our knowledge, they simply developed elaborate myth systems to explain their existence.

If nothing else, this book is a warning against the increasing silo-ization of academic scholarship.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miss VSME Green on 11 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mayor takes into account the vast amount of prehistoric animal remains and links them to mythology very convincingly. I thoroughly enjoyed it and now I look at myths, legends and fabulous creatures in a very different light. Fasicnating.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. L. Marchant on 16 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this at the moment, having read Fossil legends of the First Americans already. It would seem the dark and middle ages set us back a long way in research and understanding of Earths past. What I've read so far is very intriguing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again


Feedback