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Underworld: Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age Hardcover – 8 Feb 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 741 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd; 1st edition (8 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718144007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718144005
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 6.5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Amazon Review

Graham Hancock's latest foray into the murky uncharted waters of the past is, in this case, exactly that--Underworld is an exploration of what lies beneath the sea, mainly off the coasts of India, Malta and Japan. Hancock, well known for his disputes with orthodox archaeologists, argues that they ought to be looking underwater for submerged ruins, and that by not doing so they are stubbornly holding on to out-dated and incorrect theories. Hancock doesn't have a lot of time for academics. Most of them, he seems to suggest, having spent their careers safely in their ivory towers, are unwilling even to consider new paradigms which could overturn everything they have learnt and taught. And Hancock's thesis would do just that.

In Underworld--the book of his Channel 4 TV series--he argues that far from springing out of nowhere some 6,000 or 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, civilisation has been with mankind for many millennia longer. With the aid of a geologist at Durham University, Hancock examines which coastal areas vanished beneath the sea as the ice melted at the end of the last Ice Age, a catastrophic inundation he finds in the Flood myths of most of the world's traditional religions. And then he goes diving and finds, in some cases, incontrovertible ruins; in other cases the piles of stone might well be natural rock formations, but Hancock argues for their human origins.

Hancock accepts that he is neither a historian, an archaeologist nor a geologist. Some of his arguments tend to be rather speculative, and some of his conclusions may well be wrong--it's not always a good thing to ignore the experts! But in this massive book--well over 700 pages--he does provide sufficient evidence for flooded ruins that ought to be studied by real scholars. And if a few cherished paradigms are overturned in the process, surely this is what science is all about. --David V Barrett


Hancock has virtually cornered the market in this kind of speculative writing, and his reputation as the New Age answer to David Attenborough is well earned. Much of the ancient world inherited by our ancestors now lies under water after melting ice caps flooded vast areas at the end of the last Ice Age. New advances in geology and marine technology mean that the great archaeological finds of this coming century will more than likely be found under the oceans. It now looks likely that large populations of early humans were obliterated from the historical record by this catastrophe over 10,000 years ago. But who were these populations: hunter-gatherers or more sophisticated peoples? Hancock applies his customary imaginative speculation on a quest to find some of the answers.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The back of Underworld has various press quotes about Graham Hancock, one of which describes him as the "Indiana Jones of alternative archeology." I think the Copernicus is more accurate.
Graham Hancock is often tarred with what you might call the "Jesus is an Alien" brush. In bookshops you'll find his books grouped alongside authors who claim that aliens built the pyamids, that the descendants of Jesus are alive today in a secret society, that the "templars" had esoteric knowledge that they can trace back to ancient Egypt etc.
In fact you will usually see him in the same section as authors writing about alien abductions, or someone like former BBC sports presenter David Icke who claims that the people who run the world are all giant lizards!
Hancock doesn't believe that aliens created civilization and whatever his views on Jesus, it's not a period of history that he writes about.
What he tries to prove in all his books is something that's both more conventional and potentially more exciting: Civilization is much older than we think it is and didn't just evolve out of thin air around 3000 BCE.
Hardly a theory that's in the same bracket as alien abductions or giant lizards when you consider that the Noah story of a great flood that destroyed civilization thousands of years ago isn't exclusive to the Judaeo-Christian tradition. It's shared by societies as far apart as native americans and aboriginal australians.
And as Hancock goes to show in Underworld, ice age earth had a fifth more land than it does today. The Persian Gulf and large areas of the Indian coast were not only land, but were temperate, warm and completely fit for human habitation.
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Format: Hardcover
Archaeologists have been pushing back the date of humanity's first attempts at agriculture and the civilization that follows it. An inexplicable commonality is seen in agriculture emerging in distant places at nearly the same time. Self-confessed - sorry, self-adulatory - Graham Hancock thinks there's an answer for that chronological similarity. He contends agriculture, and civilization reach even further back in time than evidence found in places like Iran or Turkey suggests. He thinks the legends and mythologies of India, Malta and South America point to a multitude of "Atlantis-like" urbanised cultures that have disappeared from view - under water.
"Underworld" is a collation of ancient legends, old maps, submerged evidence and innovative thinking that gives humanity much deeper roots than previously thought. Hancock dives into the world's offshore depths, trolls through a wealth of mythologies, views unusual and unexplained artefacts and comes up with a challenge to consensus archaeology. Was there a global sprinking of advanced civilizations at the end of the last Ice Age? Did the melting ice caps drown more than the various land bridges that connected the British Isles with Europe, Sri Lanka with India and Alaska with Siberia? If Hancock is correct, and he is not to be dismissed lightly, humanity achieved far greater social complexity during the glacial advances than just living in caves wrapped in bear skins. What appears to be a near simultaneous emergence of agriculture, he argues, is in reality what we see left over from much older societies.
Hancock has made dives in many of the sites revealed by fishermen, archaeologists and others, recording finds on video and still camera and maps. The images are impressive, as are the numbers of potential sites.
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Format: Hardcover
Graham Hancock got my undivided attention with "Fingerprints of the Gods". He has won my continued interest by writing and researching ancient and mysterious civilizations. The "new" location of his research is underwater, off shore in the Meditarranean, India, and Asia, i.e., Taiwan and Japan. He *does* includes some references to fascinating "finds" in the Caribbean, the Bahamas and a recent site discovered near Cuba. His writing style is most engaging and so is the subject matter.
I enjoy his ability to include 1) solid scientific evidence to back up his theories, 2) diaries he kept while exploring underwater sites, 3) a photo journal of monuments and structures (whether natural or man-made is yet to be determined) by his wife, 4) descriptions of what he actually sees, 5) ancient maps of the "old world", and 6) "inundation" computerized maps (scientific but limited) of what the world would have been like *before* the flood which occured after the Ice Age. Graham Hancock does a phenomenal job of describing how he got started in this research and he does a superior investigative report supporting his main theory, that many civilizations/ancient cities were wiped out worldwide due to the floods that occurred approximately 11,000 years ago. He and his wife learned to dive just so they could view first hand, the objects of their theories and research.
I was impressed that this was a 700+ page book but found by part 4, I was tired and slowing down. The book picks up speed and moment after discussing monuments discovered near Japan that are either natural, man-made or a combination, as of yet, the "experts" are uncertain.
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