Temple trivia from around the world.
Excavations in Switzerland have revealed the first intact Neolithic burial chamber north of the Alps. The dolmen, at Oberbipp in the Canton of Bern, contains the remains of at least 28 individuals dating to about 5,000 years ago. Marianne Ramstein, director of excavations, explained that examples of such burial chambers are rare, most are in […]
First settled in the late 6th millennium BC, between 3600-2500 BC the Maltese archipelago flourished into an astonishingly rich prehistoric culture, producing a wealth of stylised human figures unparalleled by contemporary peoples, as well as the oldest surviving free-standing stone buildings in the world. Constructed from massive slabs of limestone some 4m high, weighing up […]
The dig Rather than one major campaign of excavation, it was the results from a series of interventions over almost half a century, pulled together by Dr D K Absolon, Curator of the Government Museum in Brunn, Czechoslovakia, during the interwar period. This work of synthesis was then widely publicised from the mid-1920s onwards. The […]
Just outside the fortified walls of Mdina, once the capital of Malta, are the remains of a fine example of a Roman townhouse. The Domus Romana was discovered by accident in 1881 by Dr A A Caruana, a pioneer of Maltese archaeology. But as we approached, the lure of the magnificent fortress city, perched high […]
Rome is empty of tourists in late January; Umbria is even emptier, yet on most days there is sunshine for nine hours. Middle Italy’s landscapes are brought into a blissful clarity by the low angle of the sun, which makes a trip outside the Eternal City utterly bewitching. Little over an hour north of Rome […]
The EU have launched a £36.1m project to help conserve the spectacular Roman ruins at Pompeii. Approved by the European Commission in 2012, the funding aims to consolidate ancient structures, improve drainage, and assist the training of staff. Special measures will also be taken to protect the initiative from the influence of organised crime – […]
Archaeologists examining the 1,600 year-old remains of a woman from Roman Spain have made a unique – if grisly – discovery: a calcified ovarian tumour containing four teeth and a piece of bone. Known as a ‘teratoma’, the spherical mass measured 4.3cm (1.7in) in diameter and was found in the right-hand part of the 30-40 […]
Archaeologists returning to the spot where the enigmatic ‘Lion Man’ was found 74 years ago have announced the discovery of almost 1,000 new fragments of the mammoth ivory figure – and new dating evidence that could put it among the oldest figurative sculptures in the world. The first pieces of the Palaeolithic statue were excavated […]
Neanderthals might have died out 15,000 years earlier than previously thought, meaning that they could not have interacted or interbred with modern humans, new analysis suggests. For 20 years it had been thought that pockets of Neanderthals survived in southern Iberia until c.36,000 years ago. As Homo sapiens arrived in the northern part of the […]
Prehistoric snail shells contain a wealth of information about what the climate was like thousands of years ago, newly-published research says. Chemical analysis led by Dr André Carlo Colonese, Dept of Archaeology, University of York, examined the carbon and oxygen isotope composition of the shells of Pomatias elegans, recovered from Mediterranean caves and ranging in […]
Conservation work on the Colosseum’s only remaining covered passageway has revealed fragments of colourful frescoes and graffiti from the Roman period. Previously hidden beneath layers of calcified rock and dirt, the red, black, and blue scribbles suggest that the white and grey marble surfaces of the 1st-century AD amphitheatre might once have been much more […]
A small silver figurine, found on the Danish island of Funen, is the first-known 3D representation of a valkyrie from the Viking Age, archaeologists say. Images of armed women interpreted as valkyries – literally ‘choosers of the slain’, companions of the god Odin, who in Norse mythology are sent to battlefields to fetch warriors fated […]
As a schoolboy, Philip Kenrick was hooked by the fine red Samian ware he found amongst the coarse indigenous pottery at a site on the Watling Street in England. Otherwise known as terra sigillata, its more handsome precursor comes from Italy, and was traded throughout the Roman world. After enjoying great popularity, it suddenly fell from grace. Why?
One of the most spectacular excavations in the world today is in the Great Harbour, built by Theodosius I in Constantinople (Istanbul). So far, 36 shipwrecks have
been discovered – most dating to the 6th to 7th centuries AD – making it by far the biggest collection of craft known from Antiquity. How was it that such a major haul of ships was excavated? Therein lies an interesting story that Andrew Selkirk starts by looking at the transport problems of modern Istanbul.
Solving the mysteries at Van How were some of the first chariots made? Prof. Erkan Konyar of Istanbul University believes he has the answers. His theory turns on a series of strange rock ‘symbols’ found at the early 1st millennium BC site of Van, in Easern Turkey. Nadia Durrani writes. In the early 1st millennium […]
Forty minutes north of Budapest, on a bend in the Danube, occupying a strategic point on its western side, lies Visegrád. In Roman times, this was a heavily fortified stretch of the Pannonian limes, controlling some of the richest farming land in Europe. Today, though, its real fascination lies in how Hungary’s smallest town became […]
Exploring a Gallo-Roman grand design The idyllic setting and picturesque ruins of the Gallo-Roman villa at Montmaurin certainly would have appealed to the Romantics of the late 18th and 19th centuries. Set in a rural landscape against the backdrop of grazing animals and the distant white peaks of the Pyrenees, the ruined walls rise up […]
How the mighty have fallen High on a mountain top in a remote part of south-eastern Turkey, the gods congregate at a place known as Mount Nemrut (Nemrud Daği). It is not easy to reach, but definitely worth the climb. After a long trek up the mountain trail to a height of some 2,100m (6,900ft), […]