Divers exploring the now-submerged caves of Quintana Roo in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula have uncovered evidence for red ochre mining between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the oldest known example of the exploitation of this mineral resource in the Americas.
Author: Lucia Marchini
With prehistoric painted caves, ruins of Roman cities, spectacular places of worship converted during periods of conquest and reconquest, and elaborate palaces occupied by emirs and kings, Spain offers plenty of historic sites to explore. One place where you can get a flavour of this rich heritage across the length and breadth of the country under one roof is the National Archaeological Museum, founded in Madrid in 1867.
As they walked across Engare Sero in northern Tanzania, a group of people left their mark in the soft surface of volcanic ash beneath their bare feet. Preserved for thousands of years in material expelled during an eruption of Oldoinyo L’engai (visible in the background), these impressions were first spotted by members of a nearby […]
Archaeologists with the Egyptian-Italian Mission at West Aswan have digitally restored fragments of a very fragile painted leopard’s head from a 2nd century BC sarcophagus, discovered at the Egyptian necropolis last year. The leopard is a common symbol of power and protection in ancient Egypt, but it is unusual to see it painted on a […]
How should we date material that is millions of years old? Looking at the predictable rates of the breakdown of proteins from an organism found in fossils is one possibility, and a technique that goes well beyond the range of radiocarbon dating. This amino acid dating (or amino acid racemisation) was first developed in the […]
Now housed in the Prince’s Palace in Copenhagen, the National Museum of Denmark has one of the oldest established collections of prehistoric artefacts in the world. It dates back to King Frederik VI, who set up Den Kongelige Commission til Oldsagers Opbevaring (The Royal Commission for the Preservation of Antiquities) in 1807. One early secretary […]
CWA explores standout ancient sites in the north-west of the Mediterranean island. In the middle of an open plain, a magnificent structure stands out against the blue sky, dominating the flat green fields that surround it. With a long ramp leading up to a tiered, truncated pyramid, this prehistoric monument has been likened to a […]
What is it? This statuette, dating from around 21,000 BC, has the familiar form of a Palaeolithic ‘Venus’ figurine. Carved out of chalk and standing to a height of 4cm, the female figure has the prominent, fleshy thighs, buttocks, and breasts typical of these works from a late phase of the Gravettian culture (28,000-22,000 years […]
The enjoyment of food and drink, the essence of life, was deeply ingrained in Roman society. Beyond mere nutrition, food and wine played vital roles in people’s social lives, business lives, spiritual lives, and afterlives. We have details about Roman dishes from a range of texts, such as Petronius’ Satyricon, with its account of decadent […]
When the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud left Vienna after Germany annexed Austria in 1938, he was – unlike most other refugees – able to bring many of his possessions to his new home in north London. Freud only lived at Maresfield Gardens for a year, as he died in 1939, but it was established as […]
The small size of the Cycladic island of Delos belies its significance in the ancient world, both as a major sanctuary and as a thriving port. According to myth, it was on this remote and rocky pocket of land in the Aegean that Leto, pregnant by Zeus and persecuted by his wife Hera, took refuge […]
What is it? This small Egyptian figure, carved out of red sandstone around 1800 BC, depicts a familiar mythical creature: the sphinx. It was perhaps a votive offering to the goddess Hathor; Egyptian hieroglyphs inscribed on the sphinx’s right shoulder read ‘beloved of Hathor, mistress of turquoise’. The nose is broken, the head has been […]