Author: Lucia Marchini

WMF SYR Aleppo Souk featured

Hope through heritage

Before September, the people in this picture had never picked up a chisel. Now, only a few months into World Monument Fund’s conservation stonemasonry training programme, they can carve arabesques for zakhrafa jambs, prepare rectangular billet mouldings, or work an ovolo return. Not yet perfect maybe, but still astonishing progress, made more remarkable still given […]


Travel: Berlin’s Museum Island

Richard Hodges traces different journeys in the 8th century AD Berlin seems an unlikely place to discuss the 8th century AD in Europe. Yet a galaxy of scholars has been drawn to the stolid Bode Museum on Museum Island in the heart of the German capital to do just this. Today, the city boasts renowned […]


Travel: Africa Vetus

Caitlin McCall explores Roman remains in the land of Dido, Hannibal, and Caesar. Tunisia, with its glorious sandy beaches wedged between Algeria and Libya on the north coast of Africa, covers an area roughly two-thirds the size of the UK, but with just one-sixth its population. Such a ratio of land to people means that, […]


Travel: Hadrian MCM

David J Breeze visits Aquincum in Hungary to celebrate its connection to a famous emperor. The 1,900th anniversary of Hadrian’s accession as emperor on 11 August 117 has been celebrated in style all year in Aquincum, the Roman town and military base next to Budapest, Hungary. A special exhibition was mounted in the museum, dedicated […]


Review: The Fate of Rome

The Fate of Rome: climate, disease, and the end of an empire Kyle Harper Princeton University Press, £27.95 ISBN 978-0691166834 Review by: Nadia Durrani By AD 650, the Roman Empire was but a shadow of its former self. Many have explored the reasons for its demise, but no one has yet considered the joint contribution […]


Review: Egyptian Art

Egyptian Art Bill Manley Thames & Hudson, £12.95 ISBN 978-0500204283 Review by: Lucia Marchini The arts of ancient Egypt have had enduring popularity, inspiring Roman frescoes and funerary monuments, Egyptian revival architecture in the 19th century, and Art Deco jewellery. Tutankhamun’s mask remains one of the most familiar images of archaeology, and this new guide […]


Review: The Diversity of Hunter-Gatherer Pasts

The Diversity of Hunter-Gatherer Pasts Bill Finlayson and Graeme Warren (eds) Oxbow Books, £36 ISBN 978-1785705885 Review by: George Nash In the recent past, there has been a tendency to be cautious when applying anthropology to assist in understanding archaeology. While many will agree with this notion per se, anthropology can be a useful tool […]


Review: Built on Bones

Built on Bones: 15,000 years of urban life and death Brenna Hassett Bloomsbury, £16.99 ISBN 978-1472922939 Review by: Lucia Marchini More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and the proportion is only set to increase. Cities, though, have long presented a range of hazards, such as infectious diseases and interpersonal violence. […]


Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia

After two years of refurbishment, the British Museum has reopened its longest gallery, devoted to China and South Asia. Artefacts are back on display in the listed mahogany cases, offering a chronological journey through the rich collections from Neolithic pottery to Ravi Shankar’s sitar. A vast Ming dynasty mural (c.1424- 1468) from a Buddhist temple […]


Object lesson: William the Hippo

What is it? William is the nickname given to this small Egyptian Middle Kingdom statuette of a hippopotamus. The figurine was made in the 12th Dynasty (c.1961-1878 BC) and was placed with another in a tomb. Measuring just 11.2cm in height and 20cm in length, the bright, blue faience hippopotamus has a well-rounded body and […]


Review: Protecting the Roman Empire

Protecting the Roman Empire: fortlets, frontiers, and the quest for post-conquest security Matthew Symonds Cambridge University Press, £75 ISBN 978-1108421553 Review by: David J Breeze First, a declaration of interest: I read a draft of this book, and several of my illustrations appear in it. I do not think that either aspect will affect how […]


Driving the streets of Pompeii

How did Romans drive around an ancient city? Was it just a free-for-all? Subtle traces worn into the streets of Pompeii by passing carts suggest not. What do they tell us about the city’s complex traffic systems?

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