Is it possible to write history without people? Of course, archaeology is all about history without people, but we invent the people. Is it possible to have a more ecological approach? The latest champion of this ecological approach is Greg Woolf, the Director of the Institute of Classical Studies in London, in a new book, The Life and Death of Ancient Cities, which he meaningfully subtitles A Natural History.
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With prehistoric painted caves, ruins of Roman cities, spectacular places of worship converted during periods of conquest and reconquest, and elaborate palaces occupied by emirs and kings, Spain offers plenty of historic sites to explore. One place where you can get a flavour of this rich heritage across the length and breadth of the country under one roof is the National Archaeological Museum, founded in Madrid in 1867.
High on a hilltop near the village of Ploçe, Albania, lie the ruins of the ancient polis of Amantia. The city was founded in the 5th century BC and is first mentioned in ancient sources around the middle of the 4th century. It experienced an economic and cultural boom during the Hellenistic period, and from 230 BC started to mint its own coins.
Discover how a chance detail on a 19th-century map set in train a longstanding archaeological expedition at this elite necropolis, which is providing a fresh appreciation of how ancient Egyptians interacted with their past.
The Ancient Egyptian cemetery at Saqqara received burials for thousands of years. One consequence of this is a remarkable concentration of funerary monuments, including Pharaoh Djoser’s magnificent step pyramid, and an array of impressive tombs. A connection between one of these edifices and objects in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, sparked a long-running fieldwork programme, […]
Oliver Gilkes tours the Danube, in the first of a two-part exploration of Serbia’s archaeology. The mighty Danube runs for almost 2,000km from southern Germany to the Black Sea. It forms the backbone of central-southern Europe and was for millennia not only a trade and communications artery, but also a frontier and barrier. Last year, […]
Exploring a Founding Father’s mobile home Why was a 19th-century New York house relocated twice – and how was it done? Carly Hilts travelled to Harlem to find out. In 2008, the inhabitants of Harlem – an uptown neighbourhood of New York City – were met by an extraordinary sight: a house, more than 200 […]
No matter how many years I have spent in the Mediterranean in wintertime, I cannot get it into my head that it rains a lot. This New Year in western Crete the rain was biblical save for one magical sunlit day. Chania, in western Crete, seemed to be the vengeful target of black brooding skies […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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?