Issue 46

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Ancient Afghanistan revealed

The British Museum has just launched a major exhibition on Afghanistan. In a world exclusive, curator St John Simpson reveals the inside story of troubles surmounted, relationships forged, and treasures relocated.

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Sweden: A plague on all your houses

Excavation of a Swedish plague pit has revealed how a small village responded to an invisible killer. Caroline Ahlström Arcini pieces together an archaeology of crisis.

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Ethiopia: When climate changes

Over the past two summers Timothy Clack and Marcus Brittain have directed the first archaeological teams in the Lower Omo Valley, a remote part of south-western Ethiopia, to research long-term human responses to environmental change. What did they find there?

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Banteay Chhmar

The sprawling city at Angkor covered, at its peak, an astonishing 1,000km², and formed the heart of a Khmer Empire which spread across present day Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Banteay Chhmar is one of the crowning glories of King Jayavarman VII’s reign (AD 1181-c.1219). But this magnificent Khmer temple, an architectural tour de force, lies crumbling in forest near the Cambodian border. John Sanday and the Global Heritage Fund must overcome more than just neglect to save this site for posterity.

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France: Climb Every Mountain

Were mountains treacherous zones spurned by early people? Kevin Walsh and Florence Mocci share the 10 millennia long story of life above the 2,000m mark.

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Brian Fagan digs deeper

Whether it’s making a meal of man’s best friend, sailing the Gulf of Mexico on the Mayan turtle, or assaulting the senses in subterranean ceremonies, Brian Fagan doggedly keeps us up to date.

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Jordan: Flying the line

The Hijaz Railway was vital to Ottoman ambitions in the First World War. Armed with Royal Flying Corps plans, a camera, and a Jordanian army helicopter, John Winterburn has gone in search of the desert war.

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Postcard from Gordion

Last summer, one day stands out above all others: my first trip to Gordion (ancient Gordium), a Turkish city associated with Midas, and the golden touch of a Penn professor, Rodney Young. From all I had heard, I assumed it would be arid and charmless. But archaeologists are the very worst travel-guides. Seldom, if ever, […]

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Book Review: A Companion to Byzantium

Spanning Emperor Constantine’s inauguration of Constantinople in AD 330 to the city’s fall to the Ottomans in AD 1453, Byzantium is one of history’s most complex, fascinating, and misunderstood Empires. A Companion to Byzantium aims not to provide a blow-by-blow narrative history describing every nuance of Byzantium, but to explore issues and themes that are […]

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Palatine Hill

The remains – remarkably unprepossessing amid the spectacular ruins of classical Rome all around – comprise postholes, wall-slots, and drainage gullies, defining three small structures.

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