Four Lost Cities

A Secret History of the Urban Age

hardcover, 304 pages

Published Feb. 1, 2021 by W. W. Norton & Company.

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4 stars (4 reviews)

6 editions

Fascinating look at how cities form, live and die

5 stars

Modern archaeology has drastically increased what we can learn from ancient ruins, and Newitz turns this lens on the history of how cities form, how they thrive, and how they die. The writing is engaging and accessible, flowing through what we know, how we know it, how certain we are about it, and the author's first-hand experiences with archaeologists at the actual sites.

The book has added a lot to my understanding of Pompeii and Angkor. Çatalhöyük is fascinatingly weird. And I'd really like to know more about Cahokia. (So would the people studying it!)

Satellites and Microscopes

There's a recurring theme of re-examining what we thought we knew, using either new technology or new perspective. Angkor is perhaps the best example: LIDAR surveys in the last 10-15 years have revealed the remains of building foundations and an irrigation network outside the walled temple complexes. It wasn't a medium-sized …

A review from Goodreads

5 stars

Fascinating to know how data archeology is helping us understand a little bit more about our ancient history. This book explores four sites: Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman town of Pompeii in Italy, Angkor in Cambodia and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia in the U.S. The book brings history to life by trying to imagine what was it like to be a regular citizen of these places: labourers, women, immigrants, slaves. Super entertaining and informative.

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4 stars
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3 stars