Journeying south from the Serbian Danube presents an opportunity to revel in Roman opulence, as Oliver Gilkes reveals. The Danubian provinces of the Roman world do not get much of a look in as far as history goes. That is not to say there is no history – there is a lot – but seeking out modern accounts is not so easy.
Italy is in lockdown as I write and it feels like Christmas Day, such is the silence. Yet the cuckoos have dodged passport control and are here to herald each day. The fields, incidentally, are now flush with spring flowers. The government decree forbids travel, so I resort to assembling reports on old excavations for a new tome and, as it takes shape, I dwell on whom to dedicate it to. Archaeology is as much about people as it is about the past. So, just as I rework interpretations about past discoveries with each new piece of evidence, so I inevitably revise my thinking about people.
Divers exploring the now-submerged caves of Quintana Roo in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula have uncovered evidence for red ochre mining between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the oldest known example of the exploitation of this mineral resource in the Americas.
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.
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, […]