In the last 10 years, a flurry of archaeological excavation ahead of the completion of the Ilısu Dam on the River Tigris has surprised everyone with the sheer quantity and diversity of material uncovered. The Ziyaret Tepe Team reassess this little understood but soon to be lost region before it is too late.
The ancient temples of Angkor have endured nearly a millennium of conflict and warfare, but will this new visitor boom, asks Tom St John Gray, be the most deadly threat to their survival? The capital of a flourishing empire between the 9th and 15th centuries, Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South- east Asia. This year Cambodia invited visitors from around the world to enter the ‘Kingdom of Wonder’, and tourists responded in their millions.
Patagonia at the end of the Ice Age was not a pleasant place to live: it was a time of great climatic and environmental fluctuations, and, despite the thaw, much colder than today. Yet, into these uninviting conditions at the southern tip of the Americas, came the first early human societies. How did they survive such a bleak environment? Ariel Frank believes three sites in Patagonia have the answers.
Taking a bulldozer to open an ancient monument is not usually recommended. But, in 1977, that is exactly what Manolis Andronikos did. After considerable debate, he had come to the conclusion that the Great Mound at Vergina was actually the site of Aegae, the religious capital of Macedonia where Philip II, father of Alexander the [...]
A sequence of clear, parallel lines stands out brightly against the red clay wall at the entrance to Chamber A1 in Rouffignac Cave – about a metre off the floor, and drawn without the aid of torchlight. There has been much speculation as to the symbolic meaning and purpose of these fluted lines. Now, Leslie Van Gelder and Jessica Cooney believe they were made by a five-year-old girl, whose marks appear throughout the complex.
Excavations at Areni 1 Cave in the Vayots Dzor region, on Armenia’s border with Iran and Turkey, have unearthed parts of a well-preserved woman’s skirt of woven straw, which has been dated to 3900 BC. Excavation Director, Pavel Avetisyan, of the Armenian Archaeology and Ethnography Institute, said ‘It is an amazing material with rhythmic colour hues’. [...]
The discovery of two art toolkits, dating to 100,000 years ago, in a south African cave, show early humans were capable of sophisticated abstract thought and possessed a high level of technological know-how. Two abalone shells containing an ochre-rich mixture – probably used for decoration, painting, and skin protection – were found at Blombos Cave [...]
Museums of the world not to be missed No matter how unlikely the subject, there is bound to be a museum devoted to it somewhere in the world. Fascinated by sanitation? According to Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi (www.sulabhtoiletmuseum.org), ‘the toilet is a part of [...]
A 45,000-year-old toddler’s milk tooth, found in southern Italy, is evidence of the first modern humans to reach Europe. Stefano Benazzi, of the University of Vienna, and Katerina Douka, from Oxford University, and colleagues, have identified two milk teeth as being early modern human rather than Neanderthal, as previously believed. Both are molars: one belonging [...]
A long-neglected archaeological landscape will now be preserved after being declared a Class A Area of Archaeological Importance by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA). The multi-period site at Tal-Wej, dating from the Bronze Age through to the 16th century, was being used as an illegal dumping ground for construction rubbish and was under threat [...]
Thousands of previously unknown prehistoric stone structures have been found in some of the most remote and unexplored regions of the Middle East, thanks to the use of satellite technology. More and more, archaeologists working in remote locations are turning to virtual landscapes like Google Earth and Bing when neither aircraft reconnaissance nor archive aerial [...]
Handaxes and flakes recovered from the shores of Lake Turkana, in the remote north- western part of Kenya, are being hailed as the oldest ‘advanced’ stone tools yet discovered in the world. The mudstone sediment in which the tools were found has been dated to 1.76 million years ago, some 360,000 years older than the [...]
The Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure to be found in the UK, has gone on tour to America. more than 100 artefacts, including some of the collection’s most famous finds – like the gold and garnet sword-fitting, the helmet cheek-piece, and the folded cross – are now on display at Washington DC’s [...]
New thinking on the movement of Homo sapiens has also emerged from the UK. A fragment of upper jawbone with three teeth from Kent’s Cavern in Devon was initially dated to c.37,000 BC, but re-examination suggested conservators’ glue had contaminated these results. Now, after radiocarbon dating animal bone excavated from above and below the maxilla, [...]
In the museum world’s equivalent of finding an heirloom in the attic, the curators at Torquay museum discovered they own an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus that was intended for royalty. The coffin, carved from a single piece of cedar, was originally believed to date from c.700 BC; it had been re-used 200 years later to hold [...]
In his first-hand account of the Gallic Wars (Commentarii de Bello Gallico), Julius Caesar observes that the Gallic people have a moon- based calendar, and that the big event for them was what astronomers now call the Lunar Standstill, which occurs every 18.6 years. Lunar Standstills are marked in several ancient cultures (including sites in [...]
A multi-million dollar project to help preserve luxor’s world-famous temples has resumed after being delayed for nine months by the Egyptian revolution. Subterranean water was damaging the foundation stones of Karnack, the Ramesseum, and the temples of Seti i, Merneptah, and Haremhab. Now, the USAid-funded initiative has been channelling this water into an enormous reservoir [...]
Ayutthaya lies on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, a mighty waterway fed by innumerable tributaries that rise in the Phetchabun Range to the east, and the uplands on northern and western Thailand. From the onset of the monsoon in April and May until the rains subside in November, the river turns into a [...]
The former Roman town of Carnuntum, today an Archaeological park on the Danube 24 miles (38km) east of Vienna, is already known for its well-preserved amphitheatre, but archaeologists have now also discovered the first gladiator training school ever found outside Italy. The find was made using state-of- the-art, ground-penetrating radar equipment, so sensitive that, according [...]
Archaeologists in Yorktown, Virginia have found a well-preserved kiln site manufacturing fine stoneware pottery at a time when colonial pottery-making was banned: the illegal pottery was set up as a sign of the growing American desire for economic independence from the British Crown, and a desire to end the imposed reliance on imported British-made goods. [...]