How did cities come to flourish in the Negev Desert? George Nash has gone in search of Shivta’s former glory. The Negev Desert of southern Israel holds many secrets from the distant past. Its landscape and environment are no longer what they were during the Byzantine period, which roughly extended from the 5th century AD […]
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Claims and counter-claims about a sculptural fragment held by the British Museum brought a touch of trepidation to a celebrity visit during excavations at Knidos, the Turkish city of Aphrodite, in 1971, as Richard Hodges remembers in this exclusive extract from his latest book. ‘Sir Mort’s coming. That’ll put the cat among the p-pigeons!’, Tim […]
What is it? This mid 3rd century AD semi-cylindrical shield is known as a scutum and was used by legionary soldiers of the Roman Empire. Constructed of thin strips of wood glued together in layers to create a plywood board, the surface is covered with red-dyed hide or parchment. The round opening in the centre […]
Life and death in a 5th-century ringfort It is not unusual for archaeologists to find caches of artefacts stashed in the ground, but their owners rarely remain nearby. Excavations on the island of Öland are revealing traces of a ringfort’s violent end. Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay, Helena Victor, and Clara Alfsdotter explain what a community’s demise can […]
The deeds of royal dynasties presiding over Maya city-states in northern Guatemala can still be followed on ornate inscriptions raised in their name. But just how large were their dominions? Tom Garrison tells us how recent survey and follow-up fieldwork is revolutionising our knowledge of Maya state power.
The Guatemalan rainforest has kept its secrets well. Maya monuments like the world-famous pyramids at Tikal may seem hard to miss, but until recently surveying the dense jungle posed a formidable challenge. Now extensive aerial survey using lasers to strip away the foliage virtually has revealed just how much escaped detection. Tikal has gained two […]
As we set off down Philadelphia’s runway, the pilot drolly piped up to say, ‘at least we didn’t have to de-ice [the plane] today.’ A muted ripple of laughter passed through the serried ranks of seats as we set southwards and onwards into crystalline horizons with glimpses of shimmering coral reefs and long sandy beaches. […]
The decision to install a hydroelectric dam in the Göksu valley sparked a project to record its past, before the archaeology was submerged beneath rising water. Naoíse Mac Sweeney, Tevfik Emre Şerifoǧlu, Anna Collar, and Stuart Eve reveal the remarkable story of a region shaped by successive empires. What is our heritage worth? Should we […]
Some of the finest surviving remnants of the Roman Empire can be found in Algeria. But how easy are they to visit? Philip Kenrick is our guide. For the tourist who is interested in the Classical Mediterranean (encouraged not least by the warmth), several really interesting countries with stunning antiquities have in recent years ceased […]
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 […]
Survey near the town of Palpa, Peru, has revealed a wealth of geoglyphs. Are they older than their celebrated neighbours at Nasca? And were they aimed at a very different audience?