Issue 43

church of holy sepulchre

Holy Land In praise of crusader churches

In the morning of 15 July 1099, the starving knights of the First Crusade broke through Jerusalem’s defences and stormed the Holy City. Their victory was bloody, and its legacy profound: the foundation of a new Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem that endured for almost two centuries. While the capital shifted between Jerusalem, Tyre and Acre […]


Somaliland Archaeology in a break-away state

Somaliland is not Somalia. Somaliland is in the northern part of Somalia, occupying the area of a former British colony. After gaining independence in 1960, it joined with Somalia Italiana to create modern Somalia. But whereas Somalia is wracked with civil war and crippled by piracy, Somaliland has remained peaceful. Now it has re-asserted its […]


Souskiou: Hidden valley of the idol makers

When Cyprus adopted the Euro early in 2008, the government had to decide what symbol should adorn its new currency. Although the Euro may look the same, every country issues its own coins, incorporating its own national emblem. This created a particularly sensitive dilemma for Cyprus. What symbol should they adopt? In order to maintain […]


Java: The Gua Made green masks

About ten years ago a collector of ancient Indonesian art contacted my husband and me to ask our opinion on a group of masks cast in an odd green metal in his possession. Some of these masks, he said, had been recovered from an underground temple in a remote site called Gua Made, north of […]

Heroes Of Marathon

Greece: The battle of Marathon

Most people today probably think Marathon has something to do with the Ancient Greek Olympics. In fact, there was no marathon race at the Olympics. Nor is there any reliable ancient account for a run from Marathon to Athens (a distance of 26 miles) to bring news of the victory of 490 BC. What the […]


Cyrus Cylinder

Irving Finkel, the British Museum specialist on the Cyrus Cylinder, has announced that horse bones now in the Palace Museum in Beijing inscribed with extracts from the Cyrus proclamation are genuine ancient copies. The discovery raises important questions about relations between Iran and China during the 1st millennium BC, and why the text was important […]


Australian rock art

Australian academics and members of the Aboriginal community working together to record and protect rock art in the Wellington Range, Arnhem Land, have discovered evidence of Southeast Asian sailing vessels visiting Australia in the mid-1600s – the oldest ‘contact rock art’ yet discovered in Australia. The rock shelter at Djulirri has nearly 1,200 individual paintings […]


Neolithic treasure chest

Thanks to preservation under waterlogged conditions, a well in the federal state of Saxony, Germany, has revealed unprecedented information about woodworking skills, diet, and ritual in early Neolithic Europe. Found in early 2008 at Altscherbitz, during construction work on the Leipzig/Halle airport, the well was carefully isolated and extracted from the ground in one block […]

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Incas under fire

Human remains unearthed in Lima, capital of Peru, have yielded the first direct evidence of Inca deaths caused by Spanish conquerors around 500 years ago, says Melissa Murphy of the University of Wyoming in Laramie. In a report on Violence and weapon-related trauma at Puruchuco-Huaquerones, Peru, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Professor […]


Megalithic float

Francesco Benozzo, of the University of Bologna, studies the continuity of Palaeolithic words into recent languages as a means of understanding ancient societies. In The European Archaeologist, he reports on recent field research near the Portuguese megalithic site of Almendres, where the name used to indicate a megalithic stone is ventrecurgo, and near Kercado, in […]


Tracing the travelling Empress

Human remains found wrapped in costly dyed silk in Germany’s Magdeburg Cathedral in 2008 have been confirmed as those of Eadgyth (pronounced ‘Edith’), the wife of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I and granddaughter of England’s Alfred the Great. Archaeologists at the UK’s Bristol University announced the results of tests to measure the isotopes in […]


Brian Fagan Digs Deeper

A Maya lord The ancient Maya continue to surprise us, this time with the discovery of a well-preserved tomb under the El Diablo pyramid at El Zotz in Guatemala. Stephen Houston and his research team encountered the grave under a chamber in a small temple in front of the pyramids dedicated to the sun god, […]

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