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Mixing Fantasy and History can be problematic
on 5 March 2010
Whilst this book is beautifully produced and the illustrations are excellent and well researched I have serious reservations about the concept of mixing fantasy/ mythological places with those known to archaeology. I cannot comment on the other chapters, but in the case of the chapter on Mohenjo-daro there is not only one basic spelling mistake - harappans does not have 2 r's, but there is a strange assertion that they called themselves 'The Civilised'. This is not factual, because we do not know what they called themselves, because the Indus Script remains undeciphered, and seems to be based on a word used in Mesopitamian texts which IS THOUGHT TO describe the Indus Valley region which means the opposite of civilised. Many theories some of which are outdated or proven to be wrong by recent archaeology are stated as factual, and that is misleading. It is often said that there was no warfare, but not all, albeit a minority archaeologists concur with this interpretation, ditto no defensive walls... its just not that simple. It is true however that many "senior" archaeologists in this field tend to express their theories as facts, so this may have misled the author. This is one of the worlds great civilisations, but we do not have any surviving narrative of events and unlike Egypt, very little organic evidence has survived, there are no tombs stuffed with treasures etc...so everything is based on the evidence of archaeology and that is always open to interpretation, so if you write about this topic, the public should know that.