Issue 45

986

Hannibal’s Revenge

In the summer of 1911, the young Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) went on a bicycling tour around Rome and began to realise that the history of southern Italy was different from that of the north. When he returned to Oxford, he gave a series of lectures on the subject, but then his mind turned to higher […]

987

Botromagno: Becoming Urban

Today, Gravina is one of those little-known Italian towns that every tourist falls for. Meaning ‘ravine’ in Italian, the town is aptly named, as it teeters alarmingly on the brink of a precipice. This picturesque, if precarious, position lies some distance inland – 40 miles west of the provincial capital of Bari on the east […]

988

Fieldwalking

In 1996, Alastair Small and his wife Carola launched a major fieldwalking project to examine the countryside near Gravina. Focusing on the area along the Basentello River, they undertook ten seasons of survey here, covering an impressive 100km². Small teams of students assisted by local volunteers would scour the fields, walking 15m apart, and subdividing […]

989

Metapontum and Tarentum

The fate of the inland cities of Southern Italy depended to a considerable extent on the fortunes of the Greek colonies springing up along the coast; and for Botromagno in particular, on those of Metapontum near the mouth of the Bradano River. The greatest of these colonies was Tarentum (modern Taranto), founded in the 8th […]

990

Venusia’s supersize colony

The Samnites were hardy folk. Living in a region dominated by the Apennine mountains to the southeast of Rome, they proved reluctant to submit to the fledgling power’s imperium. Tensions flared into open conflict around 343 BC, when Rome was drawn into a land dispute. The Samnites were eager to be able to graze their […]

991

Life and Death at Vagnari

Throughout most of Italy, the 2nd and 1st centuries BC were a time of increasing prosperity. Towns sprang up and flourished, while the countryside grew ever more affluent. There is only one blot on this picture of rude economic health: the area of southern Italy we are examining. Growth appears particularly stunted in the vicinity […]

992

Down to Today

The convulsions in land use that usher in the post-Roman period are vividly laid bare by the Vagnari survey. In the 4th and 5th centuries, pottery distribution on the Imperial estate undergoes a fundamental change. Instead of clustering at the tilery and villa sites, there is a denser, more widespread scatter of Late Roman painted […]

993

United States: The World Trade Center ship

Not long after sunrise on 13 July 2010, two archaeologists descended a long aluminium ladder into a 25-ft deep pit immediately south of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. The archaeologists made this descent, as they and their colleagues had many mornings before over the previous months, to monitor the lumbering activities of a […]

994

Norway Oseberg ladies

In August 1903 Gabriel Gustafson, director of the University Museum of Antiquities in Kristiana (now Oslo), received an unexpected visitor. The caller, Oskar Rom, had travelled nearly 100km from his farm at Oseberg to tell tales of a Viking ship burial there. But the museum was in the process of moving, and the director had […]

985

Brian Fagan Digs Deeper

Robots roam at Teotihuacan, Mexico Robots for exploring deep under pyramids are a new fashion in archaeology. One revealed a hidden door and a chamber in the Pyramid of Khufu at Giza in Egypt. Now, Mexico’s National Institute of Archaeology and History has unleashed a locally designed, camera-equipped remote controlled vehicle under the Temple of […]

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Inca ancestors’ stones found in Andes

A team of archaeologists, working Peruvian Andes, has hailed as ‘sensational’ the discovery of three ‘ancestor stones’ on an isolated Andean mountainside. For the Inca, such ancestor stones were more precious than gold, and imbued with supreme symbolic significance as representing deities, ancestors, and the sun. No examples of the stones were believed to have […]

Print

Persian Gulf: the first migration?

The shallow waters of the inland sea known as the Persian Gulf might well hold the evidence of the earliest human migrations out of Africa, says Jeffrey Rose, an archaeologist and researcher with the UK’s University of Birmingham. In a paper called ‘New Light on Human Prehistory in the Arabo-Persian Gulf Oasis’, published in Current […]

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