Issue 25

In 1966, in the little village of Smirat in the fertile olive oil belt of Tunisia, a large polychrome figured mosaic was uncovered. The mosaic, probably dated to the 3rd century AD, is covered with fighting animals, handsome men, and long inscriptions. It pays tribute to the mayor, Magerius, who stumped up a small fortune for the performance. The amphitheatre, the gore, the 15 minutes of fame – read all about it in our opening feature.
From the circuses of Tunisia we head to the Copper Age of Jordan. A team of archaeologists and professional cavers has just begun investigating the precipitous caves of northern Jordan in search of ancient burials. Fifty years of archaeological research in the caves of neighbouring Israel has already revealed prehistoric riches and it seems that Jordan is set to follow. Their work is an archaeologist’s dream, but most certainly not for the feint-hearted!
Thereafter, architect and archaeologist Paul Woodfield walks the Great Wall of China. Visitors to the Great Wall typically visit one small stretch of the wall – the sanitised showpiece known as the Badaling section near Beijing. However, Paul recently spent nine days on a charity trek for the Parkinson’s Society. This afforded him the possibility of walking not just the restored sections, but also unrestored sections. Here he reveals the highs and lows of the real Wall of China.
We then follow with two very different Caribbean features. In the first, we venture to Antigua, once at the very epicentre of slavery, empire and wealth. Though many travellers go merely for the white-talc beaches and rum punch, we investigate the archaeological evidence for this chapter in its heritage. In the second, we follow in the adventurous footsteps of the early 20th century archaeological surveyor and British missionary Thomas Huckerby as we go in search of unusual Caribbean rock carvings in St. Vincent and Grenada.
Finally, there are all the regulars: News, Diary, Books and a postcard from Richard Hodges who sends troubling news from the new Greek and Roman gallery at New York’s Metropolitan Museum. We finish back in the balmy Mediterranean with a back-page interview on the South Italian gem that is Herculaneum.

Travel: Berlin’s Museum Island

CWA 25

CWA 25 covers the globe from the blood and gore of the Roman amphitheatre – where a mosaic by the flamboyant Magerius describes his beneficience – to Copper Age cave burials in the Levant. This issue also includes in its travels a visit to the Great Wall of China and two trips to the Caribbean, […]


Caribbean Petroglyphs

Michael Chaplan follows in the footsteps of early 20th century archaeologist and surveyor, Thomas Huckerby, in search of Caribbean petroglyphs


Magerius Mosaic: Smirat, Tunisia

A mosaic from the village of Smirat, Tunisia contains two long inscriptions which reveal how entertainment was put on in a Roman amphitheatre


Hidden Jordan

The Council for British Research in the Levant is sponsoring a Ritual Landscapes Project in search of copper age burials


Real Wall of China

Visitors to the Great Wall of China normally only see one small stretch of the wall – the Badaling section – a showpiece near Beijing. But what is the Great Wall really like? Recently, Paul Woodfield had the opportunity to spend nine days walking the wall. The opportunity was afforded by the Parkinson’s Disease Society who arranged a walk along the wall to raise funds for their Society. So what did he find, and how does the ‘real wall’ compare with the small, carefully conserved section offered to the usual tourist visitor?



The Archaeology of Antigua in the Caribbean, once at the epicentre of slavery, empire and wealth


Metropolitan Museum

A missive from the new Greek and Roman Antiquities Gallery of New York’s Metropolitan Museum

the archimedes codex

The Archimedes Codex

The Archimedes Codex: Revealing the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Palimpsest Reviel Netz and William Noel Weidenfeld and Nicholson, £18.99  Archimedes of Syracuse has long been regarded as the greatest mathematician and scientist of the ancient world by historians of science. For the rest of us, his cry of ‘Eureka!’ while taking his bath is […]

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