Ancient Treasures: The Discovery of Lost Hoards, Sunken Ships, Buried Vaults, and Other Long-Forgotten Artifacts by Brian Haughton

Product DetailsAuthor Brian Haughton makes reference to the fact that some of the cases he’s about to reveal bear a similarity to a Dan Brown novel or a cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond.  This is not only true, it’s what makes Ancient Treasures… so much fun to read.  He’s included photos pertaining to many of the items that bring their stories even more fully to life.

This is Haughton’s fifth book on mysterious events and he’s appeared on The History Channel.  It’s clear the man knows his secret societies, supernatural folklore and ancient objects.

Ancient Treasures… focuses on treasures 300 or more years old when found, whether they’re coins, jewelry, weapons, gold and silver or weapons.  The discoveries span the world – Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Greece – even Afghanistan.  Each story is carefully detailed from prior history to excavation to discovery to the most up-to-date disposition of the items in modern times.

In fact, the only minor difficulty some non-history readers might have is getting through the back story of the people and places involved with the discovery.  It’s guaranteed you’ll read more details about Ancient Rome or Greece than you could ever imagine, all the while a bit impatiently waiting for the true “stars” of the book to be discussed — the treasures and the mysteries surrounding them.

A recurring theme is how many of these “finds” were made quite by accident, not after years of planning.  Thievery is also plentiful – treasure discovered, hidden, looted and then making a re-appearance.  Stolen items being offered to museums or at auction also tie the stories together in many cases.

There are tales of supposed curses and even revelations of “key holders” to excavated items being sworn to secrecy (thus the Dan Brown reference).

Discoveries of Ancient Egyptian pharaohs are mentioned, with the most famous of course being young King Tut. Though some aspects of the Tut story are more commonly known, Haughton brings it into full light with all the fascinating details.

A particularly poignant discovery was the 1895 uncovering of treasures from Pompeii, the Italian city lost to a volcanic eruption in AD79.  Residents apparently scurried to hide their valuables before the volcano erupted, then lost their lives in the process.  One of the items uncovered eerily bore the inscription “Enjoy life while you have it, for tomorrow is uncertain.”

The Sevso Treasure of Roman objects, Viking Treasure, the famed Amber Room thought by many to be worthy of the title Eighth Wonder of the World, items from the ancient city of Troy – these are a few of the fascinating tales in the book.

Anyone who thinks there was only one Libyan scandal in Benghazi is mistaken, for Ancient Treasures… reveals a story of coins, jewelry and statuettes found, hidden, then lost during a 2011 bank robbery in that area.

There’s even a chapter on fake “ancient treasures” that have fooled art experts for decades.

Bond, Jones and Brown have nothing on Haughton for adventure and pure fun.

Published simultaneously as one of my book reviews on www.bookpleasures.com.

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