Issue 22

When King Xerxes of Persia set out to invade Greece in 480 BC he dug a massive canal across the Mount Athos peninsula in northern Greece. Various authors, notably Herodotus, described this complex engineering project. With the passage of time and the canal’s subsequent apparent disappearance some have claimed it was nothing more than a figment of the imagination. Benedikt Isserlin and Richard Jones solve the reveal the truth behind Xerxes’ canal.
The ancient Maya represent a second archaeological puzzle. In the 9th century AD, hundreds of their cities were abandoned. Many of the most spectacular sites, such as Tikal in Guatemala were deserted very rapidly. Various explanations have been mooted including all-engulfing war, famine and plague. But did the Maya really undergo a comprehensive collapse? Jim Aimers considers the surprising evidence from the Maya site of Lamanai in North Belize.
Howard Carter too is something of an enigma. Eighty-five years ago, his discovery of Tutankhamun shook the world. ‘Tut-mania’ took hold and Carter was quickly catapulted into international fame, arguably becoming the best-known of all our archaeologists. Yet he died in 1939 without receiving any British honour, and having been held in academic contempt by many members of the Egyptological community. But why? Based on a newly updated biography of Carter by HVF Winstone, we reveal the story behind the man who changed the face of archaeology.
Tutankhamun continues to allure and after a wait of 30 years the boy-king is back on tour – currently in the USA and coming to the UK this autumn. Peter Harrigan, publisher of the Carter biography visited America to witness the blockbusting exhibition. A second major exhibition, at the Guimet Museum in Paris, is showcasing a raft of priceless Afghan treasures from the Kabul National Museum. John Herbert reports on the treasures – and on the fraught political story behind their ‘rediscovery’.
David Miles picks up on the connection between politics and archaeology/heritage with a report on Berlin. Our postcards come from Richard Hodges who writes from Denmark and Roger and Wendy Matthews who offer a heartening letter from Iran.

CWA 22

CWA 22 was published in April 2007 and contained articles on new theories for the demise of the Maya, especially in Belize, the circumstances surrounding Howard Carter's historic find and why "Tutmania" has gripped the world ever since, the legendary canal of Xerxes that passed through Greece and to what extent Herodotus was correct, the recently […]

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Xerxes Canal

Archaeological investigations reveal the canal built by the Persian king Xerxes in northern Greece

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Berlin: The politics of Memory

David Miles considers how Berlin is dealing with its recent heritage including a look at Libeskind’s Jewish Museum and Eiserman’s Holocaust Memorial

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Lamanai, Belize: Collapse of the Maya

Did the great Maya civilisation really collapse? Jim Aimers writes of the intriguing evidence from Lamanai, the splendid Maya site in northern Belize

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Bisitun, Iran

Bisitun, site of a rock-cut relief that enabled the decipherment of cuneiform Babylonian has been made into a World Heritage monument

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Copenhagen

Richard Hodges visits the distinguished Danish archaeologist Klavs Randsborg and together they explore Denmark’s past

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