Category: Issue 18

High in the mountains of northern Ethiopia, the site of Lalibela is one of the most important pilgrimage places of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Lalibela is famed for its 11 medieval churches, all of which are hewn into the rock. These exceptional buildings are said to have been built during the 25 year reign of King Lalibela – with more than a little help from the angels. But archaeologists question miracles; and here, David Phillipson, Professor of African Archaeology at Cambridge, introduces us to the wonders of Lalibela and offers a new interpretation of its chronology and creation.
What has life been like for an archaeologist in the former Soviet Union, living through the dramatic changes of the past 20 years? Vladimir Kerasev comes from Uzbekistan, and here he lifts the iron curtain from his story – of training in the old Soviet style and his frantic attempts to scratch a living as an archaeologist since then. He concludes with a look at his home city of Tashkent, destroyed in an earthquake in 1966, and his own efforts to rescue some archaeology in the face of Soviet-style rebuilding. And in the process he uncovers a strange mystery: where was the original Tashkent?
Though the Soviet Union aimed for equality between all men, Ancient Egypt certainly did not. Two hundred years after the Great Pyramid at Giza was built, the most high ranking of governmental officials were buried in a cemetery behind the massive enclosure of the step pyramid of Zoser, 10 miles south of the Great Pyramid. This became one of the more fashionable cemeteries of the Old Kingdom. It is currently under excavation by Professor Karol Mysliwiec whose article leads us into the tombs of a grand vizier and an important priest.
Although the treasures of Tutankhamun are in the Cairo Museum, some of the other material – the notes and diaries of excavator Howard Carter – are in the Griffith Institute, at Oxford. Sadly, only a rather small proportion of Tutankhamun’s treasure has been fully published: how can this process be expedited? The solution is to make all Howard Carter’s notes available on the web, where they will be available to everyone. Here Jaromir Malek describes this ambitious project, where everyone can be their own Tutankhamun expert.
Our next feature also deals with objects that would otherwise not be seen by the public. The British Museum’s new gallery space, Room 2, is a temporary place for key items from galleries under refurbishment that would previously have been banished to storage.
In Books we take the lid off the Da Vinci Code and teach you how to read hieroglyphs, and we also have postcards from Mark Horton who writes from Siraf in Iran, and from Richard Hodges who sends news from the Greek and Albanian banks of Lake Prespa.

Current World Archaeology 11 years ago
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CWA 18 was published in August 2006 and contained features on the rock-cut churches of…

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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A report on the new BM exhibition space

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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The excavations at a fashionable Old Kingdom cemetery lying just behind the step pyramid of…

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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The many and diverse records of the Tutankhamun tomb excavation are brought into the 21st…

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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One of the original 12 sites to be added to the World Heritage list, Lalibela…

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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Vladimir Karasev lifts the iron curtain from the archaeology of the Independent Republic of Uzbekistan…

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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DNA tests on bones of early Neolithic farmers from the Czech Republic suggests they were…

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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Ancient figs found in Jordan may prove to be some the earliest evidence of agriculture…

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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Has the first century AD port of Muzris been found?

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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Doll maker enlisted to help reconstruct the head of Bocksten Man

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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DNA research of 100,000 year old Neanderthal suggests greater genetic diversity than previously thought

Current World Archaeology 12 years ago
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Richard Hodges sends news from Lake Prespa