Issue 44


Turkey Ancient Paphlagonia

For the Hittites of the Late Bronze Age it was a difficult, wild country where the restless Kashka people lived. For the Romans, it was a hostile highland zone harbouring the Mithridatic kings who battled Rome for over 200 years, until the region was finally incorporated within the empire. And in the Byzantine period the […]


Sicily Byzantine banquets for the dead

Sicily was best known during the Roman Republic as the breadbasket of Rome. Although she never reached such dizzy heights again (Africa and Egypt seized the role of Rome’s main grain suppliers), the province remained quietly prosperous throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. The dazzling late Roman villa near Piazza Armerina, with its vast array […]


Italy Chamber of Secrets

In 1997 four cavers set out to explore the deepest galleries of the Grotta della Monaca. It was not an easy task. Located in the Calabria region of southern Italy, the huge entrance to the cavity hangs over the Esaro River like a brooding black eye. Back then, the only way to reach this forbidding […]


Egypt: Queen of the Desert

Khentkawes is hardly a household name. The historical record passes over this elusive figure without comment, while the scraps that testify to her existence could seem worthy of no more than a stale footnote in the annals of Ancient Egypt. Yet archaeology shows otherwise. It is revealing an exceptional and powerful lady who lived during […]

The Roman frontier

Germany: The Roman Frontier

The sheer scale of Rome’s German frontier is overwhelming. Running for almost 550km, and boasting at least 60 forts, 80 fortlets and over 900 towers, it is the longest archaeological monument in Central Europe. The frontier’s circuitous and occasionally bewildering path carries it from mountain ridges to river pastures, sometimes heeding the limits of fertile farmland, others simply ploughing an arbitrary line across the landscape. This complex barrier is more than just an extended display of Imperial might, it is a physical testament to the way terrain forced the military’s hand.

962 (1)

Boat found at base of World Trade Center

Astonishingly, given the devastating events that took place at New York’s World Trade Center on 11 September 2001, archaeologists working at the site have found a substantial depth of undisturbed archaeological deposits lying underneath the remains of the iconic twin towers. They include the remains of a Revolutionary-War-era ship that was probably sunk deliberately on […]


Recycling the past

Iron-Age people had a conscious relationship with objects from earlier times that connected them to their past, says Olle Hemdorff at the University of Stavanger’s Museum of Archaeology and Eva Thäte of the UK’s University of Chester. They have been studying the contents of graves in southwestern Norway and have discovered a clear pattern in […]


News on Neanderthals

NEANDERTHAL COMPASSION Researchers at the UK’s University of York have concluded that Neanderthals had a deep-seated sense of compassion. The research, by Dr Penny Spikins, Andy Needham, and Holly Rutherford, published in the journal Time and Mind, was concerned with tracing the origins of those higher order emotions that make us human – specifically the emotions […]



Nearly 200 of the world’s major archaeological and cultural sites are defined as being ‘At Risk’ or ‘Under Threat’ according to a newly published report from the San Francisco-based Global Heritage Fund (GHF), while 12 are ‘On the Verge’ of irreparable loss and destruction. Those most at risk include the site of the ancient Assyrian […]


Tool use pushed back 1 million years

The butchered bones of cow and goat-like animals from a riverbed in Dikika, in the Afar region of northern Ethiopia, show early humans were using tools 3.4m years ago – more than a million years earlier than previously thought. Until the discovery, it was believed tools were first employed by Homo habilis – hence the […]


Feasting marks the start of the Neolithic

Archaeologists have found the remains of 71 tortoises and three wild cattle while excavating Hilazon Tachtit Cave, in Galilee, northern Israel. The remains date from 12,000 years ago and are believed to be the earliest evidence yet found for communal feasting. The meat from the tortoises alone would have fed at least 35 people, it […]


Brian Fagan Digs Deeper

The esoterica of kelp forests Kelp forests are near ubiquitous along the West Coast of North America, as anyone who has sailed or paddled a small boat knows only too well. Kelp grows at an astonishing rate, as much as 0.9m a day, offers rudimentary shelter from ocean swells, and, most important of all, is […]

1 2