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297 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 265-277) and index.
Introduction : How do you lose a city? -- Part one. Çatalhöyük the doorway: The shock of settled life ; The truth about goddesses ; History within history -- Part two. Pompeii the street: Riot on the Via dell'Abbondanza ; What we do in public ; After the mountain burned -- Part three. Angkor the reservoir: An alternative history of agriculture ; Empire of water ; The remains of imperialism -- Part four. Cahokia the plaza: America's ancient pyramids ; A great revival ; Deliberate abandonment -- Epilogue : Warning-social experiment in progress.
"A quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history--and figure out why people abandoned them. In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy's southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia, which stood beside the Mississippi River where East St. Louis is today. Newitz travels to all four sites and investigates the cutting-edge research in archaeology, revealing the mix of environmental changes and political turmoil that doomed these ancient settlements. Tracing the early development of urban planning, Newitz also introduces us to the often anonymous workers--slaves, women, immigrants, and manual laborers--who built these cities and created monuments that lasted millennia. Four Lost Cities is a journey into the forgotten past, but, foreseeing a future in which the majority of people on Earth will be living in cities, it may also reveal something of our own fate"-- Provided by publisher.