The present uprising in Libya has focused the world’s attention on the region. But this part of North Africa has a troubled past. Archaeologist Philip Kenrick discusses a country of two halves.
The Sirte Basin in northern Libya, the current battleground for Colonel Gaddafi’s troops and rebel civilian forces, is no stranger to conflict. Nadia Durrani gets the full story from Charles LeQuesne.
There is a field in Veien where horses’ teeth have been found in cooking pits, and a series of massive long-houses have been reduced to nothing. Why? Emma Nielsen reveals the latest to Nadia Durrani.
China’s Han Empire was brought to its knees by powerful nomadic tribes. But just when defeat seemed inevitable, an ingenious new approach to frontier security was attempted. Arnaud Bertrand reveals new research into the origins of the Great Wall in the west.
The house-proud Neolithic inhabitants of Çatalhöyük inadvertantly frustrated archaeologists by keeping their homes clean. Now Lisa-Marie Shillito examines an aspect of the site’s rich archaeological heritage invisible to the naked eye.
Packed in a crate with artefacts from the Middle East, the eery figures arrived in Montreal, Canada, in the mid 1950s. A simple hand-written label read: The Starving of Saqqara. But nothing else is known of this mysterious sculpture. A rare find, or a clever fake?
The lure of chocolate Hi-tech archaeology triumphs again! Now it shows we are not the first societies to be ardent chocoholics. As I reported in an earlier column (CWA 35), two years ago archaeologists working at Chaco Canyon in the Southwest found traces of cacao residue on pots from the ‘great house’ known as Pueblo [...]
Recent excavations have shown Medieval ruins in the Russian republic of Tuva were monastic and reminiscent of China’s ‘Forbidden City’. Por-Bajin – meaning Clay House – sits on a small island in the centre of a remote lake in the Shojgu’s native Russian republic of Tuva, high in the mountains of southern Siberia and 32km [...]
Bamboo was probably used as an alternative to stone in South East Asia, scientists believe. The lack of a diverse and sophisticated ‘toolkit’ of stone tools at Prehistoric sites in the region, as found at sites of similar date in other parts of the world, has long puzzled archaeologists, who have concluded that some other, [...]
When first discovered in 2001 by the archaeologist William Saturno of Boston University, the mural-covered room at San Bartolo, a remote and ancient Maya city site in the Guatemalan rainforest, was described as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Maya’, because of the quality of the paintings. The publication of The Murals of San Bartolo, El [...]
The first settlements on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Hawai’i, and New Zealand have been dated to the period between AD 1190 and 1290 thanks to a massive carbon dating exercise, the results of which have just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (108: 1815–1820). Janet Wilmshurst and [...]
First ‘unequivocal proof for pre-Clovis occupation of America’ has been found by researchers at Texas A&M University. Flint knife blades, chisels, and other human artefacts were discovered in sediments that were last exposed to sunlight between 15,500 and 13,200 years ago, according to luminescence dating. These same sediments are also stratigraphically earlier than the layers [...]
Lewis Binford, champion of the New Archaeology movement, died on 11 April 2011, at the age of 80 years. The obituary, published by the Southern Methodist University, where Binford taught since 1991, described him as ‘the most influential archaeologist of his generation’, because of his role in defining the discipline as it was practised throughout [...]
From the imposing stelae at Axum to the churches at Lalibela carved out of solid rock, Ethiopia has an incredibly rich heritage. Travel writer Judith Baker takes us on a journey through the North to discover more.
Thirty years ago my career took a memorable new turn. I had been trained in settlement archaeology and the theory and practice that this entailed. Much of this was controversial because I subscribed to the so-called New Archaeology championed by a generation of American archaeologists and emulated with some skill by the rising stars of [...]
Herculaneum’s destruction is a familiar story. On the 24 August AD 79 Vesuvius erupted, sending superheated mud cascading though the town, killing all before it, and carbonising timbers, foodstuffs, and documents. The helpless inhabitants died in the opening salvo of a geological catastrophe for which the only warning had been an earthquake over a decade [...]
The most avidly acquired antiquities of the New World during the last 50 years have been Maya relics from Mexico and Central America. Countless sculptures and artefacts unearthed at archaeological sites have gone to the museums and private collections of richer countries. At first, the traffic was slight; but in the 1960s it rose to [...]