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.
Inspired by an engaging new book about women in the Ancient World, Christopher Catling asks: what do art, literature, and archaeology tell us about the place of women in ancient society?
Previously thought to be little more than hillfort, is this actually the first Iron Age city north of the Alps?
Do the outlines of hands in Spain’s El Castillo cave belong to Homo sapiens or to their earlier Neanderthal cousins?
How does the archaeological record reflect the vital role horses played in the development of civilisation?
What was life like under the shadow of the pharaohs? The realities of life and death under Egypt’s rule
When they were built in the 2nd century AD, the great watermills at Barbegal, in the South of France, were at the very cutting edge of technology. Their revolutionary design, says Wayne Lorenz, enabled the Roman Empire to flourish, and endured unchanged until the 20th century.
‘Expect the unexpected’ is a good maxim for any archaeologist. But nothing could have prepared Terry Hardaker and his team for their spectacular find as they explored the ancient land surfaces in a remote part of western Namibia.
Why were the bodies of a dozen newborn babies placed around the edge of a 1,000-year-old tomb?
The unstoppable Persian king, Cyrus the Great, powered through Anatolia, conquering all in his path. In 547 BC, he defeated Croesus, the legendary Lydian king of ‘rich as Croesus’ fame. The new empire was divided into regional satrapies; the capital of one was Dascyleum, where recent excavations led by Kaan İren tell the story of that fiery onslaught and subsequent settlement.
The Koru tumulus The large cluster of tumuli around Lake Kuş (Lake Manyas) – reminiscent of the Thousand Mounds of Sardis, the great royal cemetery of the father of Croesus, King Alyattes – belongs to Dascyleum. It includes burials of Phrygian, Lydian, Persian, and Macedonian nobles. Here, Kaan İren reports on recent excavations at one […]
Michaela Binder discovers what the dead can tell us about living.
Five years ago, CWA reported on the discovery of the oldest rock art found in North Africa (CWA 24). Dirk Huyge and his team have been back to Egypt to re-examine the site: it seems not only are the petroglyphs even older than first thought, they may show possible contact with Europe.
Forget London 2012. What about Olympia in 388 BC? Archaeologist Neil Faulkner has just published a new book that attempts to reconstruct the lived experience of the ancient games. So what were they really like?