Author: Current World Archaeology

Silk-Roads

Review: Silk Roads

This edited volume is the product of an innovative project, culminating in a multiple-day workshop of the same name as this publication, organised by Silk Roads Winston-Salem (SRWS), a group from Wake Forest University that brought together scholars across multiple disciplines to discuss the Silk Roads and their impact on local and global conceptions.

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Ruins on Rapa Nui

On the south coast of the Polynesian island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), a dozen or more fallen statues (moai) lie slumped across the rectangular stone platforms (ahu) on which they once proudly stood. This is the ruined ahu complex of the Akahanga, which is but one of dozens dotted around the coastline of the tiny island. Between 1,000 and 500 years ago, when the when the moai stood erect, rather than looking out to sea their gaze was cast inland. In particular, their eyes fell on a group of curious houses (haré paenga), which lay upslope and were shaped like overturned canoes.

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Tantra

Tantra’s appeal has proven remarkably broad. What began on the margins of Indian society went on to command the patronage of royalty and transform Hinduism and Buddhism as it spread across Asia. Along the way, it created a rich archaeological legacy, capable of provoking radically different reactions from its audiences, as Imma Ramos told Matthew Symonds.

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CWA 104 – now on sale

Tantra has inspired striking imagery: heavily armed gods and goddesses committing violent carnage while adorned with human body parts, or enacting acrobatic acts of union. To the initiated, these graphic scenes often symbolise victories over internal obstacles, such as greed, or the coming together of wisdom and compassion. Others, though, have taken this art at […]

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Discovering Roman mosaics

When hotel construction work unearthed extraordinary mosaics, the owners decided to create a new archaeological park. It showcases what is believed to be the largest known surviving Roman mosaic, as well as some stunning mythological scenes. Anthony Beeson puts us in the picture.

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Travel: A Villa in the Country

Journeying south from the Serbian Danube presents an opportunity to revel in Roman opulence, as Oliver Gilkes reveals. The Danubian provinces of the Roman world do not get much of a look in as far as history goes. That is not to say there is no history – there is a lot – but seeking out modern accounts is not so easy.

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Richard Hodges: The Visit of the World Bank President

Italy is in lockdown as I write and it feels like Christmas Day, such is the silence. Yet the cuckoos have dodged passport control and are here to herald each day. The fields, incidentally, are now flush with spring flowers. The government decree forbids travel, so I resort to assembling reports on old excavations for a new tome and, as it takes shape, I dwell on whom to dedicate it to. Archaeology is as much about people as it is about the past. So, just as I rework interpretations about past discoveries with each new piece of evidence, so I inevitably revise my thinking about people.

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Aphrodite at Amantia

High on a hilltop near the village of Ploçe, Albania, lie the ruins of the ancient polis of Amantia. The city was founded in the 5th century BC and is first mentioned in ancient sources around the middle of the 4th century. It experienced an economic and cultural boom during the Hellenistic period, and from 230 BC started to mint its own coins.

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Secrets of Saqqara

Discover how a chance detail on a 19th-century map set in train a longstanding archaeological expedition at this elite necropolis, which is providing a fresh appreciation of how ancient Egyptians interacted with their past.

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CWA 103

The Ancient Egyptian cemetery at Saqqara received burials for thousands of years. One consequence of this is a remarkable concentration of funerary monuments, including Pharaoh Djoser’s magnificent step pyramid, and an array of impressive tombs. A connection between one of these edifices and objects in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, sparked a long-running fieldwork programme, […]

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Travel: Through the Iron Gates

Oliver Gilkes tours the Danube, in the first of a two-part exploration of Serbia’s archaeology. The mighty Danube runs for almost 2,000km from southern Germany to the Black Sea. It forms the backbone of central-southern Europe and was for millennia not only a trade and communications artery, but also a frontier and barrier. Last year, […]

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Richard Hodges: A New Year’s Day Hike

No matter how many years I have spent in the Mediterranean in wintertime, I cannot get it into my head that it rains a lot. This New Year in western Crete the rain was biblical save for one magical sunlit day. Chania, in western Crete, seemed to be the vengeful target of black brooding skies […]

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