Before oil and gas became the major economic driving factors in the Arabian Gulf, another natural resource was the primary export: pearls. But almost as fast as this trade boomed, so it bust. This story of wonder and collapse is illustrated at the abandoned Qatari city of Al Zubarah. Tobias Richter explains.
Mould, decay, mismanagement: having survived for millennia, the exquisite art at Lascaux is critically degrading. International rock-art expert Paul G Bahn reports.
What do we know of Maya ritual practices? New revelations of a well-preserved sweatbath at Pook’s Hill in western Belize are hot. Christophe Helmke and Jaime Awe write.
Richard Hodges reflects upon a rich year at the glorious site of Butrint in Southern Albania, and on his search for one of its most distinguished citizens: the 1st century BC millionaire Titus Pomponius Atticus.
Professor João Zilhão and colleagues at the University of Bristol, UK, have found pigment-stained and perforated marine shells at two Neanderthal-associated sites in south-east Spain (the Cueva de los Aviones and the Cueva Antón, both in the province of Murcia) which prove that Neanderthals wore neck pendants and used red, black and yellow pigments for […]
Professor Zilhão of the University of Bristol and his colleagues have used red deer teeth and bones from the Portuguese cave site of Pego do Diabo (in the outskirts of Lisbon) to ask how long Neanderthals survived in the Iberian Peninsula. Excavations on Gibraltar have led to suggestions that Neanderthals clung on there until as […]
Crete has been an island for five million years – so the discovery of artefacts that are at least 130,000 years old on the island implies that pre-modern humans, such as Homo heidelbergensis, must have been long-distance seafarers. Thus reason the members of a team of archaeologists led by Professor Thomas Strasser, of the […]
Researchers at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology say they have found evidence that sophisticated behavioural patterns that define what it is to be human go back as early as 750,000 years ago – half a million years earlier than previously thought. The evidence comes from excavations at Benot Ya’aqov, located along the Dead Sea […]
In Brian Fagan’s latest instalment of all things archaeological that are both exotic and entertaining, he reads a Jamestown tablet, gets spiritual with the Hopewell, and finds gomphotheres with Clovis points.
Stories about lost jungle civilizations are normally the staple of adventure films or the lunatic fringe. Now fiction has become reality with the discovery of hundreds of huge and hitherto unknown earthworks in the upper Amazon basin, near the borders of Bolivia and Brazil. Wide-scale forest clearance for agriculture has revealed 200 enclosures and the […]
Fragments of parchment bearing part of an ancient Roman law code have been discovered by researchers at the Department of History at University College London. Dr Simon Corcoran and Dr Benet Salway were approached by a private collector who had purchased the 17 fragments of parchment believing them to be biblical texts in Greek. Corcoran […]
Former chief archaeological advisor to English Heritage David Miles travels to Arles in Southern France. There, he pays homage to a new exhibition featuring Caesar’s head and an array of other finds dredged from ‘la plus grande poubelle’ – AKA the Rhône at Arles.
Beneath the glorious Sicilian coastal city of Siracusa lies a vast underground world, as Michael Metcalfe reveals.
What happens when a ‘superior’ civilization impacts upon an ‘inferior’ one? A test bed for such questions is Iron Age Iberia – modern Spain – where the native Iberians were impacted on, first by the Phoenicians, then by the Greeks, and finally and most decisively, by the Romans. How far did the impact take the […]
Civilization cannot exist without spoken language, but it can without written communication. The Greek poetry of Homer was at first transmitted orally, stored in the memory, as were the Vedas, the Sanskrit hymns of the ancient Hindus, which were unwritten for centuries. The South American empire of the Incas managed its administration without writing. As […]
What happens when a ‘superior’ civilization impacts upon an ‘inferior’ one? A test bed for such questions is Iron Age Iberia – modern Spain – where the native Iberians were impacted on, first by the Phoenicians, then by the Greeks, and finally and most decisively, by the Romans. How far did the impact take […]