Revealing a grim cargo of elite Viking warriors
As a schoolboy, Philip Kenrick was hooked by the fine red Samian ware he found amongst the coarse indigenous pottery at a site on the Watling Street in England. Otherwise known as terra sigillata, its more handsome precursor comes from Italy, and was traded throughout the Roman world. After enjoying great popularity, it suddenly fell from grace. Why?
Qatar formed part of the ‘southern route’ out of Africa across the Arabian Peninsula when, at the height of the last Ice Age, much of the Arabian Gulf was open landscape. Now, pioneering research is looking for traces of those earliest migrations, as Kirsten Amor reports.
One of the most spectacular excavations in the world today is in the Great Harbour, built by Theodosius I in Constantinople (Istanbul). So far, 36 shipwrecks have
been discovered – most dating to the 6th to 7th centuries AD – making it by far the biggest collection of craft known from Antiquity. How was it that such a major haul of ships was excavated? Therein lies an interesting story that Andrew Selkirk starts by looking at the transport problems of modern Istanbul.
Stylised scenes of boats and animals etched into rocks on the banks of the River Nile include the oldest known depictions of a pharaoh yet discovered. Stan Hendrickx tells CWA how a Victorian drawing and an old photograph led archaeologists to these extraordinary carvings just north of Aswan.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Timbuktu was the epitome of Islamic spiritual and intellectual learning. Today, modern conflict threatens to destroy Mali’s past. Here, Kevin MacDonald takes a look at the history, heritage, and invaluable legacy of this legendary city.
Venturing across the Blue Horizon In the second part of a feature drawing on his book Beyond the Blue Horizon, Brian Fagan braves the monsoon waters of the Indian Ocean and describes the seafarers who plied them. Imagine a broad ocean where the winds blow in opposite directions for six months at a time. Such [...]
Solving the mysteries at Van How were some of the first chariots made? Prof. Erkan Konyar of Istanbul University believes he has the answers. His theory turns on a series of strange rock ‘symbols’ found at the early 1st millennium BC site of Van, in Easern Turkey. Nadia Durrani writes. In the early 1st millennium [...]
For God or for Mammon? The 13th-century Northern Crusades not only converted the local tribes from paganism to Christianity, they also converted the landscape from dense forest to open farmland. Were these men of God intent on saving souls or plundering natural resources? Lisa-Marie Shillito looks for answers in the archaeological record. When we hear [...]
Shipwercked off the Florida Keys In 1622, the Tierra Firme fleet, laden with gold, silver, pearls, and rats, was sunk off the Florida Keys. Sean Kingsley and Ellen Gerth describe 20 years of research into the world’s first deep-sea wreck excavation, and discover a time capsule of daily life from the dying days of Spain’s [...]
Our ideas about what a Roman fort should look like are being overturned, or at least being severely challenged, by recent reconstructions at the Roman fort of the Saalburg in Germany, as Andrew Selkirk reveals.
In the first of a two-part series, Brian Fagan reveals tantalising highlights of the rich and complex history of ancient seafaring. He has combined his love of the sea with a deep-rooted curiosity about our species’ earliest endeavours in his new book Beyond the Blue Horizon. This is no history of caravels, galleys, and galleons, but an investigation into the humble beginnings of ocean voyaging. Why did these intrepid explorers venture out on to the wild unknown seas?
Within hours of stepping ashore, the 19th-century missionaries were dead, their bodies cut up and eaten by local chiefs. Undeterred – or perhaps inspired – more followed. They met a similar fate. James L Flexner ventured to this tiny, far-flung island to discover what remains of this turbulent time.
Pingyao is an archaeological site with a difference: 30,000 people still live in it.
Once the banking capital of China, it has been continuously occupied for more than
2,700 years, and today provides an astonishing picture of life in Imperial China. But, asks Tom St John Gray, are tourist dollars turning the city into a theme park of the past?
The Temple of Hera at Selinunte is testament to the grandeur of this great Classical settlement. But it is just one of many on this sanctuary site. Now, Clemente Marconi and his team have uncovered one of the finest examples of Greek cult architecture and, next to it, one of the earliest to be discovered so far West – dedicated, they believe, to Hera’s sister Demeter.
An undisturbed tomb in the Valley of the Kings reveals its 3,000-year-old secret
The mighty temple of a little known Maya Kingdom, and the undisturbed tomb of its first ruler.
Tales of the French Foreign Legion in the deserts of North Africa have fired the imagination of many an adventurous school boy. Richard Jeynes was one. Now, as a (grown-up) archaeologist, his investigation of an abandoned fort of the French colonial empire is bringing those stories to life.