Amongst the Ruins explores the loss of ancient civilizations, the collapse of ruling elites, and the disappearance of more recent communities and their local traditions. Some of these are now sealed under 3,000-year-old peat, others lost to rising seas or sands, and the carcasses of twentieth-century buildings which serve as reminders of the destructive power of war.
These compelling stories of fallen or lost places are brought together through themes of war, climate change, natural hazards, human self-destruction, and simple economics. From the ice of the Arctic fringe, through to the desert landscapes of North Africa, by way of South America’s high mountains and Southeast Asia’s urban sprawl, Amongst the Ruins charts the rise and fall of places and communities around the world, the fascinating characters associated with them, and the important events that punctuate their history. Exploring wide-ranging examples from prehistory to the present day, John Darlington challenges us to recognize past failures and identify what we need to do to protect the cultures of our current world.
John Darlington is an archaeologist and executive director of World Monuments Fund Britain.
“Timely, powerful and electrifying. This is a huge exploration of our diverse histories. The story of how we try to carve out societies in a world where they are all predisposed to collapse. This is history and archaeology for now.”—Dan Snow, historian and broadcaster
“John Darlington takes us on an exhilarating and erudite encounter with ancient and lost peoples and places.”—Loyd Grossman, author of An Elephant in Rome
“With an expert archaeological eye, John Darlington reveals the very human stories behind awe-inspiring ruins around the world. Ambitious in scope and profound in its conclusions, it charts the changing fortunes of past civilisations and confronts the reality of the future of our own.”—Bettany Hughes, author of Istanbul