Issue 47


Culture Clash: A tale of two Libyas

The present uprising in Libya has focused the world’s attention on the region. But this part of North Africa has a troubled past. Archaeologist Philip Kenrick discusses a country of two halves.


Libya: Libyan Uprisings

The Sirte Basin in northern Libya, the current battleground for Colonel Gaddafi’s troops and rebel civilian forces, is no stranger to conflict. Nadia Durrani gets the full story from Charles LeQuesne.


Norway: Searching in Veien

There is a field in Veien where horses’ teeth have been found in cooking pits, and a series of massive long-houses have been reduced to nothing. Why? Emma Nielsen reveals the latest to Nadia Durrani.


Taming China’s Wild Frontier

China’s Han Empire was brought to its knees by powerful nomadic tribes. But just when defeat seemed inevitable, an ingenious new approach to frontier security was attempted. Arnaud Bertrand reveals new research into the origins of the Great Wall in the west.


Turkey: Neolithic life at Çatalhöyük

The house-proud Neolithic inhabitants of Çatalhöyük inadvertantly frustrated archaeologists by keeping their homes clean. Now Lisa-Marie Shillito examines an aspect of the site’s rich archaeological heritage invisible to the naked eye.


Egyptian Enigma: The Starving of Saqqara

Packed in a crate with artefacts from the Middle East, the eery figures arrived in Montreal, Canada, in the mid 1950s. A simple hand-written label read: The Starving of Saqqara. But nothing else is known of this mysterious sculpture. A rare find, or a clever fake?


Brian Fagan Digs Deeper

The lure of chocolate Hi-tech archaeology triumphs again! Now it shows we are not the first societies to be ardent chocoholics. As I reported in an earlier column (CWA 35), two years ago archaeologists working at Chaco Canyon in the Southwest found traces of cacao residue on pots from the ‘great house’ known as Pueblo […]


Siberian island mystery solved

Recent excavations have shown Medieval ruins in the Russian republic of Tuva were monastic and reminiscent of China’s ‘Forbidden City’. Por-Bajin – meaning Clay House – sits on a small island in the centre of a remote lake in the Shojgu’s native Russian republic of Tuva, high in the mountains of southern Siberia and 32km […]


Prehistoric eco-warriors of Asia

Bamboo was probably used as an alternative to stone in South East Asia, scientists believe. The lack of a diverse and sophisticated ‘toolkit’ of stone tools at Prehistoric sites in the region, as found at sites of similar date in other parts of the world, has long puzzled archaeologists, who have concluded that some other, […]


Early Maya ‘Sistine Chapel’

When first discovered in 2001 by the archaeologist William Saturno of Boston University, the mural-covered room at San Bartolo, a remote and ancient Maya city site in the Guatemalan rainforest, was described as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Maya’, because of the quality of the paintings. The publication of The Murals of San Bartolo, El […]


Late date for Pacific expansion

The first settlements on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Hawai’i, and New Zealand have been dated to the period between AD 1190 and 1290 thanks to a massive carbon dating exercise, the results of which have just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (108: 1815–1820). Janet Wilmshurst and […]


Proof of first North Americans

First ‘unequivocal proof for pre-Clovis occupation of America’ has been found by researchers at Texas A&M University. Flint knife blades, chisels, and other human artefacts were discovered in sediments that were last exposed to sunlight between 15,500 and 13,200 years ago, according to luminescence dating. These same sediments are also stratigraphically earlier than the layers […]

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