What was Spain like before the Romans? The site of Pintia, in north central Spain, is providing surprising answers. From the 5th century BC until the arrival of the Romans in the 1st century BC, Pintia was occupied by the Vaccaei, an Iron Age people with Celtic links. Alas, the Vaccaei left no written history and, with the passage of time, their memory fell into legend and obscurity. However, current excavations at pre-Roman Pintia are revealing a sophisticated city, replete with gridded streets, an artisans’ quarter, and an unexpectedly rich cemetery.
Thereafter, we cross the globe to Okinawa. The island lies just 300 miles south of Japan and 400 miles from China. It is, therefore, in a classic crossroads situation. How far did it show influence from Japan, and how far was it swayed by China? A recent conference provided the opportunity to see the hidden treasures of Okinawa, and those of its fellow sub-tropical Ryukyu islands.
Moving further south, we reveal yet more concealed gems. While the great rock art of Europe and Africa is justly famed, Southeast Asia has almost as much rock art as is known from Europe and Africa combined. Here we take a look at the intriguing rock art from China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia and Australia.
Back in Europe, the next major exhibition at the British Museum will be devoted to the emperor Hadrian. His reign marked a turning-point in Roman history. Though brilliant and visionary, he died embittered by failure. Why? Here, as an adjunct to the new exhibition, Neil Faulkner tells of the life and times of Hadrian.
Finally, there are all the usuals: World News, Diary, Listings, a postcard from Richard Hodges, and a column from the inexhaustible Brian Fagan whose latest book, The Great Warming: The Rise and Fall of Civilizations, has been climbing the heights of the US bestselling book list. The magazine ends in paradise with a backpage visit to the balmy Pacific island of Palau.