Ongoing excavations at Sedeinga, a 2,000-year-old necropolis in northern Sudan, have uncovered the remains of at least 35 densely-clustered pyramid burials – and an inscription asking the gods to ‘take care of Granny’. Identified by the French Archaeological Mission, the pyramids were built as part of a burial ground probably containing several hundred monuments, during [...]
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 [...]
Archaeologists have identified a spectacular 2,200-year-old warrior burial in Russia, part of a previously unknown necropolis in the central Caucasus mountains. Located 800m (2,600ft) above sea level, near modern Mezmay, the site came to the attention of archaeologists after Krasnodar Regional Museum was alerted to large-scale looting in the area. Museum staff, directed by Nikolay [...]
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.
Stylised scenes of boats and animals etched into rocks on the banks of the River Nile include the oldest known depictions of a pharaoh yet discovered. Stan Hendrickx tells CWA how a Victorian drawing and an old photograph led archaeologists to these extraordinary carvings just north of Aswan.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Timbuktu was the epitome of Islamic spiritual and intellectual learning. Today, modern conflict threatens to destroy Mali’s past. Here, Kevin MacDonald takes a look at the history, heritage, and invaluable legacy of this legendary city.
Tenochtitlan José Luis de Rojas University Press of Florida ISBN 978-0-8130-4220-6 Besides Ancient Egypt, no civilisation has been examined and scrutinised more than the Aztecs. Human Sacrifice, vicious and bloody wars, magnificent architecture and a spectacular downfall have brought the Aztec empire eternal fame. In this informative and stimulating book, José Luis de Rojas brings [...]
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 [...]
Shipwercked off the Florida Keys In 1622, the Tierra Firme fleet, laden with gold, silver, pearls, and rats, was sunk off the Florida Keys. Sean Kingsley and Ellen Gerth describe 20 years of research into the world’s first deep-sea wreck excavation, and discover a time capsule of daily life from the dying days of Spain’s [...]
The dig The site of Babylon – one of the oldest, richest, and most fabled cities of Antiquity – had attracted a succession of European antiquarian investigators during the 19th century, but it was not until the arrival of a German Oriental Society (Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft) team led by Robert Koldewey (1855-1925) that scientific excavations were [...]
Vessels of Influence: China and the birth of porcelain in Medieval and Early Modern Japan Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere Bristol Classical Press, £12.99 ISBN 978-0715634639 The relationship between China and Japan over the past 1,000 years is a fascinating one. Until about 1600, China was well ahead, and the Japanese admired all things Chinese. Then, with [...]
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), [...]
Modern humans can now look their recently discovered relative, Homo floresiensis, in the face thanks to a new reconstruction unveiled at an archaeological conference in Australia. This species of early human was first identified in 2003 when researchers led by Professor Mike Morwood and Thomas Sutikna found the remains of nine individuals in Liang Bua, [...]
Also more sophisticated than previously thought is Peking Man, who may have made clothing and composite tools, archaeologists say. A subset of Homo erectus living in China c.200,000-750,000 years ago, the existence of Peking Man was revealed between 1929 and 1937 when a number of fossils, mostly from skulls, were excavated at Zhoukoudian, 55km (34 [...]
Archaeologists have uncovered more than 300 clay figurines depicting male and female forms, as well as human-bird hybrids, at Koutroulou Magoula, a Neolithic settlement in central Greece. Ranging from 3-4cm to 10-12cm in length (about 1-4.5in), the models were scattered all over the 4ha site (nearly 10 acres), with some recovered from the foundations of [...]