By Brian Haughton
New Page Books, 237 pages, $16.99
“The appeal and excitement of ancient treasure and the stories connected with it is undeniable.”
All of us are fascinated by treasure hunting. Brian Haughton’s Ancient Treasures will help you enjoy this interesting endeavor from your own armchair. In sixteen chapters Haughton describes sixteen treasure hunts in fine details, some well known, others uncommon, but all interesting to read. Most of these treasures are extremely valuable, and many are cursed. The writing is enjoyable with superscript numbers referring to extensive notes and references, mostly web links. For each ancient treasure Haughton leads us through the history of its discovery, some very ancient, some more recent. Two chapters deal with a popular fascination: shipwrecks. In the last chapter Haughton describes the many fake treasures that were “unearthed,” some of which fooled even art experts for decades. Many of the treasure sites have been looted since ancient times, the items sold to collectors and museum. And many of their returns have been demanded by countries of their origin, and legal and political battles were fought by museums that paid dearly for acquiring them. Haughton illustrated his text with small black-and-white photos acquired from Wikipedia, some treasures and some archeological sites. The index is brief but adequate. This trade paperback book is a captivating reading.
Reviewed by George Erdosh