Features

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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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Rescuing the Rooswijk

The Dutch East India Company was one of the most powerful companies on the planet. Now the wreck of a fully laden ship bound for the East Indies is providing a glimpse of how this state within a state prospered.

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The Nabataeans of Petra

We travel down the spectacular long and winding Siq that leads to Petra. There, the Nabataeans founded one of the most beautiful, and perhaps also unlikely, cities in the ancient world. What persuaded these nomads to turn their hand to urbanism, and how did they find wealth in the wilderness?

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The Scythians: discovering the nomad-warriors of Siberia

The Greeks called them Scythians, the Assyrians and Achaemenid Persians called them Saka. We know them only through their lavish funeral remains. Ahead of a major exhibition at the British Museum, St John Simpson unravels the fascinating story of this mysterious people.

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Forgotten kingdom: Searching for lost royalty from the days of the Aksumite Empire

In 2015, CWA reported on the discovery by Louise Schofield of the remarkable grave of a young woman she nicknamed ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Now further excavation in in Ethiopia’s Tigray Province has revealed that ‘Beauty’ was not alone – and nearby remains, assumed to be a fort, are looking suspiciously like those of a royal residence. […]

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Beyond the Pillars of Hercules – Excavating an Iron Age seat of power

A new discovery deep in the Guadiana Valley of the Iberian Peninsula is revealing the secrets of a little-known and intriguing Iron Age civilisation. Sebastián Celestino Pérez and Esther Rodríguez González tell CWA about the latest finds from a political powerhouse: the kingdom of Tartessos. In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian and geographer […]

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Circles of mystery: Strange ancient earthworks in Brazil’s Amazonian rainforest

Hundreds of enigmatic earthworks lay hidden for millennia beneath what was thought to be virgin rainforest. Who built them, and why? In searching for answers, Jennifer Watling discovered how ancient human activity holds the clues for future forest-management. The discovery in recent years of mysterious circular earthworks in western Amazonia is one of the most […]

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Secrets of the dolmens: Discovering lost masterpieces by ancient artists of the Iberian Peninsula

Rock-art specialists George Nash and Sara Garcês reveal spectacular prehistoric paintings hidden in the burial chambers of central-north Portugal. Thousands of late prehistoric burial-ritual sites litter the Atlantic façade of Europe, most dating to the 5th millennium BC, when first Neolithic and then Bronze Age pastoralists tended the fertile plains and valleys. These societies were […]

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Byzantine Ephesus: Life in the city after Empire

The grand architectural monuments of Ephesus attest to its glory days as a sophisticated metropolis of the Roman Empire. But what happened when the Empire ended in the 4th century AD? Following recent excavation, Sabine Ladstätter and Michaela Binder reveal new evidence of life in the city during the turbulent days of Byzantine rule. Visitors […]

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Lapa do Santo: Decapitation and ritual in ‘the Saint’s rock shelter’

Inside Lapa do Santo, excavations are revealing the complex burial practices of an early Archaic community. André Strauss tells CWA about the grisly finds. Body mutilation, decapitation, defleshing, and possible cannibalism: these chilling descriptions seem more appropriate for a serial killer’s to-do list than for an archaeological project report. But as queasy as they might […]

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An Etruscan puzzle: Investigating the monumental tomb of Grotte Scalina

This highly unusual Etruscan tomb is linked to the Macedonian court of Alexander the Great and, a millennium later, proved a magnet for medieval pilgrims. But does it have one last secret to reveal? Vincent Jolivet and Edwige Lovergne investigate. Tarquinia, about 100km north of Rome in the Lazio region of Italy, was one of […]

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The Caspian Gates

The ‘Gates’ at Dariali Gorge, set amid the spectacular mountain scenery of modern Georgia, was a place of legend. It features in a wider range of ancient and medieval sources than any other mountain pass, yet it has long been ignored by archaeologists. Dariali Gorge was a place of legend. It was in the dramatic […]

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