Features

Our features are the high points of each issue: always intelligently written by experts and beautifully illustrated

Horizon-Engare-Sero

Motion capture

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 […]

House-of-Augustus

Review: The House of Augustus

The House of Augustus: a historical detective storyT P WisemanPrinceton University Press, £30ISBN 978-0691180076Review by: Andrew Selkirk What is the most terrible fate that can befall you if you are a very distinguished professor of Classics? What if the student sitting quietly at the back of the class should turn out to be the most […]

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Braving Armageddon

Behind the scenes of a great excavation It is an open secret that archaeological expeditions are not always entirely harmonious operations, but does understanding a digging team aid appreciation of the archaeology they uncovered? Eric H Cline guides Matthew Symonds through the highs and lows of the remarkable 1920s and 1930s excavations at Megiddo. There […]

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Plain of Jars

Clusters of massive stone jars in Laos have inspired considerable curiosity. Little is known about the people who fashioned them, while even the date they were created has not been conclusively resolved. What does new research reveal about these mysterious megaliths?

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Travel: Barcino

It is one of the delights of visiting new places that you sometimes find an entirely unexpected archaeological site, which gives you an insight that is entirely new. And this is what happened when Andrew Selkirk visited Barcelona and discovered that there is, in fact, a Roman Barcelona. Barcelona is not normally considered to be […]

Horses

Richard Hodges: Lascaux IV

It is a country of enchantment which poets have staked out and which they alone may lay claim to. It is nearest thing to Paradise this side of Greece… I believe that the Cro-Magnon man settled here because he was extremely intelligent and had a highly developed sense of beauty. Henry Miller, The Colossus of […]

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Rare painted leopard revealed

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 […]

AAR

Expanding amino acid dating

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 […]

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Into the daylight: a new rock art discovery

Portugal’s Côa Valley contains Europe’s greatest collection of open-air Ice Age images. Across 17km, there are currently more than 530 known panels bearing several thousand figures. A major new discovery there is of particular importance, as Thierry Aubry, António Fernando Barbosa, Luís Luís, André Santos, and Marcelo Silvestre explain. The discovery of paintings in the […]

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Tambo Viejo

Excavating remarkable Inca rituals After the Acari Valley was absorbed by the Inca Empire, Tambo Viejo was founded to oversee its inhabitants. This imperial imposition seemingly resembled many others in the region, but excavation has exposed architectural and ritual oddities. Lidio M Valdez reveals what makes the site unique. The fully fledged Inca Empire controlled […]

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Review: National Museum of Denmark

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 […]

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