Issue 45

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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 […]

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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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Pompeii problems

Questions are being asked about the cultural priorities of the Italian Government in the wake of recent structural damage to the ancient Roman ruins at Pompeii. Italy’s own President, Giorgio Napolitano, described as ‘a disgrace’ the collapse on 6 November 2010 of the Schola Armaturarum Juventus Pompeiani (‘the House of the Gladiators’), and with it […]

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Ancient Maya marketplace

Archaeologists and soil scientists have come up with the novel theory that the open areas conventionally described as ‘ritual plazas’ in Mayan cities of the Classic era (AD 300 to 900) could really be outdoor markets. This idea challenges the notion that the Maya had a centralised food distribution system whereby foodstuffs were controlled by the […]

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Southern India’s Rock Art Riches

Northern and central India are renowned for their vast amount of rock art of global significance; now an international team has demonstrated that southern India is as rich in art, dating from at least 10,000 years ago. Rock-art specialist Paul Taçon, of Australia’s Griffith University, has published some 60 new rock-art sites in the journal […]

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Travelling Turkey

To sail the Turkish Coast is to embark on an historical and archaeological adventure that spans over 3,000 years of history. It brings to life successive civilizations of Lycians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans, all of whom stamped their mark on this remarkable region. These great cultures have not only left beautiful and inspiring physical […]

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Govett’s Leap

I clearly remember the day in October 1957, when news swept through the Institute of Archaeology in London that Gordon Childe had died in distant Australia. I was in my first term, and Childe had only just retired from the directorship. His presence was still palpable in the many references to his reign and anecdotal […]

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Postcard from the Asso Valley

For years I have directed small armies of excavators through a project manager, so returning to the role of quartermaster (and co-director) was, to be truthful, both nostalgic and scary. I have always said an excavation runs on its food and accommodation. Rather like a well-honed army, fuel up the excavators, create an atmosphere of […]

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Journey through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

In 1819, the English physician and polymath Thomas Young – best known to archaeologists for his work in deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs – published a pioneering article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It offered a tentative decipherment of the Rosetta Stone and outlined the scope of a new science, today known as Egyptology. Towards ancient Egyptian […]

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Libya Archaeological Guides: Tripolitania

The modern country of Libya – the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – encompasses one of the richest parts of the Roman Empire, but for the past 30 years it has been off the tourist track due to political difficulties. Now it is opening up once again, but it lacks a good guide book, the […]

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Crossroads of the Ancient World

In 1978, a year before the Soviets foolishly decided to invade Afghanistan, a team of Russian and Afghan archaeologists were excavating a site called Tillya Tepe – literally ‘Hill of Gold’ – high in the Afghan mountains. The site is actually a tell, into the top of which were dug six different burials: as the […]

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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu symbolises the extent, technical skill, and productivity of the Inca Empire in its heyday.

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