Lost Cities of the Ancient World


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ISBN: 9780500025659 Category:

Philip Matyszak


A fascinating tour of cities that have been lost to history, from the Neolithic period up to the late Roman Empire, that offers a fresh new perspective on the roots of urban life.

The ruins of ancient Athens, Luxor and Rome are familiar cornerstones of world history, visited by travellers from across the globe. But what about the cities that have dropped off the map – that have been submerged under water, or swallowed up by the sands of time? Where are they, and what can they tell us about our past? In this compendium of forgotten cities, Philip Matyszak explores the trials, tribulations and triumphs they faced, revealing how people have embarked on the shared endeavour of living together since we first settled down 12,000 years ago.

Illustrated throughout with important artefacts, ruins and maps, Lost Cities of the Ancient World brings to life the sites and settlements across Europe, the Middle East and beyond that time forgot, from the sunken city of Ropotamo in the Black Sea to the deep cave dwellings of Derinkuyu in Turkey. Some have survived only in ancient literature, such as the lost city of Zoar by the Dead Sea, known from the Bible but not yet found. Others have been located, allowing archaeologists to trace their changing fortunes through centuries of occupation.

Matyszak reveals a dynamic network of peoples and cultures who fought and traded between themselves, exchanging inventions, ideas and philosophies, with the result that peoples as far apart as Çatalhöyük in Turkey and Skara Brae in the Orkney islands in Scotland shared much of a common heritage. By examining the motivations that first drew people to gather and settle together, as well as the challenges that led to their cities’ abandonment, this visually striking and often surprising book offers us a fresh perspective on our urban origins.

Additional information

Weight 910 g
Dimensions 18 x 24.7 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 12 October 2023
Number of pages 288
Format Hardback
Dimensions 18 x 24.7 cm
Weight 910 g


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Philip Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St John's College, Oxford. He is the author of numerous books on the ancient world, including Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World (2020), The Greek and Roman Myths (2010) and Ancient Magic (2019), all published by Thames & Hudson.