Great Discoveries

Malta Hal Saflieni hypogeum, Great excavations - CWA 63

Great Excavations: Zammit at the Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum

The dig  The Hypogeum Ħal-Saflieni was discovered in 1902 when builders, working on a new housing development, fell through its roof. The huge underground structure is carved out of the soft rock that lies beneath the town of Paola, on the outskirts of Valetta on Malta. Despite initial attempts to deny the discovery, so as not to hinder building work, the find […]


Hogarth at Carchemish

The dig Imperial rivalry and a growing awareness that little was known of a major Anatolian civilisation of Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age date – the Hittite Empire – led to a British Museum-funded expedition to explore the remains at Carchemish immediately before the First World War. The Hittites were represented by monumental […]


Absolon at Predmostí

The dig Rather than one major campaign of excavation, it was the results from a series of interventions over almost half a century, pulled together by Dr D K Absolon, Curator of the Government Museum in Brunn, Czechoslovakia, during the interwar period. This work of synthesis was then widely publicised from the mid-1920s onwards. The […]


Koldewey at Babylon

The dig The site of Babylon – one of the oldest, richest, and most fabled cities of Antiquity – had attracted a succession of European antiquarian investigators during the 19th century, but it was not until the arrival of a German Oriental Society (Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft) team led by Robert Koldewey (1855-1925) that scientific excavations were […]


Yadin at Masada

The dig Ancient historian Josephus records a dramatic end to the Siege of Masada in AD 73. As the final act of the Jewish Revolt of AD 66-73 – the subject of Josephus’s Jewish War – the writer records the mass suicide of 960 men, women, and children. These hardline revolutionaries – the original Zealots […]


Alva at Huaca Rajada

The discovery of an intact Moche royal tomb was like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. A gang of impoverished local looters entered one of three pyramids at Huaca Rajada, Sipan, a major Moche site near the Peruvian coast.


Layard at Nimrud

On an overland ride from England to Ceylon in 1839, Austen Henry Layard became fascinated by the newly emerging archaeology of Mesopotomia (in modern Iraq).


Petrie at Naqada

Flinders Petrie, an established Egyptologist, excavated three prehistoric sites in Egypt for the Egypt Exploration Fund during the 1890s

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