‘We have been delighted – and slightly overwhelmed – by the response to our first issue. We already have 1,000 subscribers, and though we are still some way below our break-even point, we are nevertheless well ahead of our target. Life has been a bit hectic getting everything organised- but everything is now under control, and we would like to thank all those who encouraged us by their comments, or who sent in further names of potential subscribers. This has been an extremely fruitful source and there are still plenty of copies of the first free issue available.’ (May 1967)
Thus we wrote in the second issue of Current Archaeology, way back in 1967. Much the same today is true of Current World Archaeology. When Current Archaeology was launched, 5,000 copies were printed and sent out free, and the 20% response was truly amazing. Current World Archaeology has been on a somewhat larger scale. 100,000 copies were printed, 90,000 of which have been sent out, and we have achieved 9,000 subscribers – 10,000 we hope by Christmas. We are on our way – we are viable! Our special introductory offer will remain open until Christmas, so if any of your friends have not yet subscribed, urge them to do so quickly.
For this second issue, we have a cornucopia of projects from all over the world. We start with the stunning new Graeco-Roman site of Butrint, hitherto little known, because it lies in Albania, and has thus been little visited. But since Albania has been free, Butrint has been a triumph, and here we tell the story, not only of the politics behind its rescue, but also an account of what is there and what the current excavations are uncovering.
Then onto Egypt, where we start at the top, with an account of ‘How I have been excavating the Pyramids’, by Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo. This is based on his new book and tells the story of some of the problems he has faced in looking after the pyramids – and some of the many new discoveries he has made about the pyramids themselves, and about their construction.
We would particularly recommend a story written by that prince among archaeological writers, Neil Faulkner, on his very best form. This is not a story that at first sight is in the mainstream of archaeology: it is the story of the excavations at Niah Cave, in Sarawak (which is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable: sa-RA-wak) in Borneo. It is the story of how a loveable rogue, Tom Harrisson, dug up the skull of a modern human being which he claimed to be 40,000 years old. Was his claim true? Professor Graeme Barker has been leading an expedition to find out, and here is the full story of what he has found: is Tom Harrisson justified?
Neil Faulkner has also been digging out two stories from America – he begins with the epic tale of the search for the North-west passage, and how the Elizabethan adventurer, Martin Frobisher sought to find a passage to India through the frozen wastes of north Canada. He failed – but here is the bleak archaeological evidence for his failure. And then down to the Caribbean, to look for evidence of prehistoric ball-games in the Virgin Islands. And finally, David Breeze, the intrepid explorer of Hadrian’s Wall, has been exploring the Roman frontiers in other parts of the Empire – and he sends us a postcard, red-hot from the Danube.
All this, plus News – which includes the latest news of Oetzi the Iceman – and Books, presents a very full account of world archaeology in this, our second edition of Current World Archaeology.