In Quest of Lost Worlds
Journey to Algeria, Ethiopia, Yucatan and Beyond, by Count Byron de Prorok. First publsihed 1937 (paperback)
Between 1925 and 1934, the Anglo-Hungarian archaeologist/explorer Count Byron Khun de Prorok led a number of off-the-beaten-track expeditions to northern Africa as well as Central America. His account, The Quest of Lost Worlds, was published in 1936, and this is a reprint of the original that includes the quaintly hand-drawn maps and photographs.
Apparently the Count was a populariser of archaeology yet had a fascination for occult subjects—a combination that stood him in good stead in his travels. These five expeditions start with Algeria in 1925-26, with the discovery of the tomb of the legendary Queen of the Tuaregs in the A’Haggar mountain range in the Sahara, and move on to Libya with the excavation of the megalithic Jupiter-Ammon temple in 1926-28. Next, there’s a short trip to Tripolitania in 1931 to visit strange dunes and tunnels. The Count’s narrative reads like a true explorer’s travelogue, full of insights about the people he encounters, their cultural and religious traditions, their architecture and the landscapes in which they live.
In 1932-33, the Count turned his attentions to Mexico, to search for Atlantis at Chichén Itzá in the Yucatán, and to Guatemala, to uncover Mayan pyramids. But he was back in Africa in 1933-34, on the quest for King Solomon’s fabled mines. Adventures like these are hard to come by these days!
As a finale to this edition, modern-day explorer/publisher David Childress reprints the compelling A’Haggar wall paintings from a rare 1959 book, “The Search for the Tassili Frescoes”, by Henri Lhote. These paintings, like many of the Count’s travels, hint at a civilisation that once flourished in what is now the Sahara Desert. An inspiring detour into times past.