Issue 41


Yenikapi, Istanbul

As the capital of two great empires, Istanbul (and in its previous incarnation as Constantinople) contains a great wealth of culturally important material. Little wonder that it has been named Europe’s Capital of Culture 2010.


Hominid New Species

New species of hominid have been discovered in South Africa and Siberia, adding to the story of the evolution of modern humans from our early primate ancestors. Potentially the most important for filling in the gaps in our understanding of human ancestry is the near complete skeleton of an adolescent boy, along with the partial […]


Volcanic Pleistocene Wipeout

Volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland caused airline havoc in April 2010, but the far bigger Toba volcanic eruption that occurred on the Indonesian island of Sumatra 74,000 years ago nearly wiped out human life in Asia. Now, an international multidisciplinary research team, led by Oxford University in collaboration with Indian institutions, is […]

My old trowel.

Volcanic Revelations Iceland

Volcanic eruptions have helped Icelandic archaeologists pin down to within one or two years the earliest settlement of the island. The 2001 excavations at the site of the Reykjavik Centrum hotel led to the discovery of the remains of a longhouse that have now been dated by means of the ash that seals part of […]

My old trowel.

Indian Industrial Archaeology

A team of UK-based researchers have been working in India’s Andhra Pradesh region in search of more recent industrial archaeology. The team, led by Dr Gill Juleff of the University of Exeter’s Department of Archaeology, forms one half of a five-year project with the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), in Bangalore, exploring and recording […]

My old trowel.

Viking DNA Analysis

The difficulty of defining ethnicity on the basis of genetic evidence has once again been demonstrated by the recent analysis of DNA from a Viking gravesite in southern Greenland. Those buried in the 1,000-year-old graveyard are among the first settlers to have arrived on the island after it was colonised in AD 985 by Icelanders […]

My old trowel.

Biblical Script Clay Tablet

When Leonard Simmons, a Londoner with a passion for history, served in the Royal Air Force in the Middle East from 1945 to 1948, he took home a clay tablet that he bought in a market as a souvenir. And when Irving Finkel, an expert in cuneiform script, was shown the tablet earlier this year, […]

Tasmanian Prehistory

What is being claimed as ‘the world’s southernmost site of early human life’, a 40,000-year-old tribal meeting ground, has been found as a result of an archaeological survey carried out ahead of roadworks near Tasmania’s Derwent River. Up to three million artefacts have been found at the 600m by 60m riverbank site, including stone tools, […]


Brian Fagan Digs Deeper

In Brian Fagan’s latest instalment of all things archaeological that are both exotic and illuminating he explores turkey (DNA), considers Maya water, and delves into the dismal world of looting.



With its magnificent archaeology, panoramic views, and blissful natural setting, Arycanda is one of Southwest Turkey’s must-see sites, as Ays’egül Gürgezog˘ lu explains.


Olba Territorium

Between the Mediterranean and the Taurus Mountains, the Olba region of Southern Turkey is rich with archaeology. Ümit Aydinog˘lu takes us on a tour from coast to inland.


2000 years of Mayan Literature

The only work of Mayan literature known outside specialist circles is the Popol Vuh, the 16th century Quiché Mayan book of creation, which has roots in Mayan myth and legend going back perhaps 2,000 years to the pre-Classic Maya civilisation. Precursors of episodes and characters in the Popol Vuh have been found in the art and hieroglyphic writing of the ancient Maya. […]

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