Cline is a professor of archaeology who also practices what he teaches, and his book is both a congenial tour through sites including Petra, Ebla, Peru’s Nazca Lines, and the Uluburun shipwreck off the coast of Turkey, as well as a primer on how archeology works, from the actual digging (which he likens to gardening) to the ethics of what happens to the artifacts: who do they belong to? And, more important, how can we save these irreplaceable sites—and humanity’s common heritage—from the looting and deliberate destruction that’s on the rise worldwide? Cline is a master storyteller and however much you think you know about Pompeii or Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Army, he will tell you more—including all that we don’t know for sure. Was there really a Trojan Horse? It may be a metaphor for an earthquake that destroyed Troy. Why these civilizations ended—some after hundreds of years—is often the biggest mystery. And it becomes our mystery, too, when Cline ask us to imagine archeologists of the future unearthing today’s cities. What rituals would they read into the remains of a Starbucks? What clues would they find to the end of our era?
Meeks extensive knowledge in the preservation world as head of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and formerly of The Nature Conservancy makes her voice on the importance of treasuring the old built environment of superior note. Making the case that old buildings in cities are beneficial on all fronts from financial to environmental, Meeks points us towards a vision of the future city as one that is diverse in it's built make-up reflecting the values of the modern era for diversity and respect. Revealing research finds blocks with smaller, older buildings have more stores owned by women and minorities, they are more diverse ethnically and economically in their tenant make-up. Anyone who is interested in urban design and the future of our growing cities will want to read this.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings (Skira Rizzoli, $75) is simply a stunning addition to any art book collection. Compiled by Kathryn Calley Galitz, this tome features over 1,000 stunning, full color reproductions of 500 paintings from the collection, organized chronologically, beginning with an Iron Age jar from Iran and ending with a 2014 painting by American artist Kerry James Marshall. The book spans many cultures and deliberately places paintings from different regions side by side, allowing readers to view in one glance works that would likely never appear together in the same museum gallery. The resulting juxtapositions spark unexpected resonances and create connections that would otherwise go unnoticed. In addition to the striking pairings, enlarged details of selected works give readers the opportunity to appreciate the art up-close and personal. This book is sure to delight lovers of history, art, and culture alike.