Exactly 100 years ago, the explorer Hiram Bingham found Machu Picchu on the eastern slopes of Peru’s soaring Andes mountains. He was not the first to see it since the Incas left centuries before: local farmers were living on the land, and the site appeared on several maps – including that published in 1910 by Inca expert Sir Clements Markham. But he was the first to bring it to the attention of the world. Historian and author Christopher Heaney recounts the events of Hiram Bingham’s expedition that reclaimed Machu Picchu from the jungle.
Numantia in north-eastern Spain is currently the most important Roman Republican military site in the world. Century-old landmark excavations have just been radically reassessed. What have we learnt about the making of the legions?
During the Dark Ages on the island of Mallorca, culture and religion clashed between the fading Pagans of Rome and the Byzantine and Vandal Christians. Antoni Puig and Mike Elkin examine evidence from excavations at the Byzantine church of Son Peretó to reveal how the new religion developed on the fringes of an empire.
The jagged coast of Northern Scandinavia is littered with strange stone-lined pits once thought to be ancient graves. In fact, they are evidence of Norway’s first oil boom, and archaeologist Gørill Nilsen has the proof. Susan Zimmerman reports.
Ten years after the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, what is happening to archaeology in this war-torn country? Joanie Meharry reports from Afghanistan.
Olive trees thrive on poor soil where little else will grow, which means land that would otherwise be barren can produce food. This realisation triggered a true agricultural revolution – but when and where did it take place? Colin Renfrew and Evi Margaritis believe the clues were grown on Crete.
Archaeologist Sarah Parcak, who teaches at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, admits to being astonished by her own achievement: ‘I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt,’ she told the BBC recently, ‘using the new technique of infra-red satellite imaging.’ No less than 17 lost pyramids, more than 1,000 tombs, [...]
Shaped from the clays of the Amazon estuary, the elaborately decorated red, white, and black ceramics of the Marajó culture are a highlight of the Marvelous Mud exhibition at the Denver Art Museum (until 18 September 2011). They are the work of an ancient Amazonian culture largely unknown to all but a handful of specialists, [...]
Weapons, horse bones, and human skeletal remains have been found in the bed of the River Tollense, in north-eastern Germany, suggesting that at least 100 people were involved in ferocious horse-mounted and hand-to-hand combat during the Early Bronze Age. Among the fractured and unhealed skulls and bones were found wooden weapons shaped like baseball bats [...]
The 100th anniversary of the ‘rediscovery’ of Machu Picchu in July 1911 has been marked by the return to Peru of some of the finest of the artefacts excavated from the ancient Inca ruins. They will be housed in a new museum and research centre at the University of Cusco. Dubbed the ‘Lost City of [...]
CWA introduces our new columnist and old friend Charles Higham, who, in this issue, recalls his earliest forays into archaeology, and how the present has a habit of linking up with the past.
The results of a major study of early hominid teeth suggest that our male ancestors tended to stick around close to where they were born but that our female forebears moved away from their birthplace to mate with males from other tribes. These findings come from looking at the isotopes in fossilised teeth, which reflect [...]
Researchers at the University of Oxford and at University College Cork, in Ireland, have dated a Neanderthal fossil discovered in a significant cave site in Russia in the northern Caucasus, and found it to be 10,000 years older than previous research had suggested. The research centres on Mezmaiskaya Cave, a key site in the northern [...]
Donny George Youkhanna, who died in March following a heart attack, was described as ‘one of the brightest experts on the history of Mesopotamia’ by Iraq’s former Culture Minister Mufid al-Jazairi. Donny George (he dropped his last name) was the former Director of the Iraqi National Museum in Bagdad and fought tirelessly to preserve his [...]
Post excavation analysis of the finds from Professor Colin Renfrew’s excavations on the island of Keros are beginning to throw new light on the enigmatic rituals of the Aegean Bronze Age. The puzzle that Professor Renfrew and his colleagues on the Cambridge-Keros project have been seeing to resolve is not just why the island was [...]
The fact that llamas defecate communally so that their dung is easily gathered underpins the cultural achievement of the Inca civilisation and leads directly to the construction of Machu Picchu, says Alex Chepstow-Lusty, a British palaeoecologist working at the French Institute of Andean Studies in Lima. Chepstow-Lusty has studied pollens and oribatid mites from the [...]
Crete is well-connected by ferry to a number of the islands that lie close by. So if you want to go somewhere really off the beaten track, here are a few suggestions: be prepared for very simple accommodation and a chance of adventure, however. If you take the Piraeus ferry north from Kisamos at the [...]
Today the Forty Saints sits discreetly above the crowded bay of Saranda (Hagioi Saranta), in southern Albania, overshadowed by telephone aerials. Enter the arcing harbour and your eye is drawn to a melée of small boys plunging into the water, little sun-tanned minxes in an otherwise sleepy, almost dreamy, tourist town. Saranda’s ancient history, when [...]
Much of the Indus Valley civilisation was revealed to the world on Sir John Marshall’s watch as director general of the Archaeological Survey of India. This extraordinary time was captured on film, and the images have recently been published in a new book. Andrew Robinson takes a look.
The enigmatic moai that brood over Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in the South Pacific are one of archaeology’s great mysteries. When Europeans arrived in 1722, an estimated 3,000 seemingly impoverished people and numerous moai dwelt on the islands. Almost immediately, the mythmaking began, of a once prosperous, statue-building society that dissolved in the face of [...]