Subsequent examination of Stein’s draft-manuscript showed that further investigation and a more leisurely assessment were demanded by the range and importance of the subject and by changing perspectives. With the aid of the Stein Bequest to the British Academy, David Oates gave new substance to ‘the lost traveller’s dream’, extending it widely into a more general account of the Mesopotamian scene from the Assyrian period in the second millennium BC to the struggles of Rome and Byzantium with the Parthians and Sasanians in the early centuries AD. The book concludes with a study of little-known Hellenistic, Roman and Parthian pottery, mostly from the author’s excavations.
David Oates went on to serve the British School of Archaeology in Iraq as field director at Nimrud, director of the excavations at Tell al-Rimah, as Director of the School in Baghdad, Member of the Council, Chairman and President. David Oates died in 2003 and the reprinting of this volume by the School in his memory has been generously funded by The Charlotte Bonham-Carter Charitable Trust.
There have been no changes to the text or images (including a Foreword by Sir Mortimer Wheeler) and the pagination has remained the same. David’s widow and long-time collaborator, Dr Joan Oates, has added a Preface illustrated by a photograph from the author’s collection.