Issue 48

1039

Mallorca: On the Edge of Empire

During the Dark Ages on the island of Mallorca, culture and religion clashed between the fading Pagans of Rome and the Byzantine and Vandal Christians. Antoni Puig and Mike Elkin examine evidence from excavations at the Byzantine church of Son Peretó to reveal how the new religion developed on the fringes of an empire.

1040

Norway: The First Oil Age

The jagged coast of Northern Scandinavia is littered with strange stone-lined pits once thought to be ancient graves. In fact, they are evidence of Norway’s first oil boom, and archaeologist Gørill Nilsen has the proof. Susan Zimmerman reports.

1041

Afghanistan: A Divided Path

Ten years after the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, what is happening to archaeology in this war-torn country? Joanie Meharry reports from Afghanistan.

1042

Crete: Olives

Olive trees thrive on poor soil where little else will grow, which means land that would otherwise be barren can produce food. This realisation triggered a true agricultural revolution – but when and where did it take place? Colin Renfrew and Evi Margaritis believe the clues were grown on Crete.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu: Cradle of Gold

Exactly 100 years ago, the explorer Hiram Bingham found Machu Picchu on the eastern slopes of Peru’s soaring Andes mountains. He was not the first to see it since the Incas left centuries before: local farmers were living on the land, and the site appeared on several maps – including that published in 1910 by Inca expert Sir Clements Markham. But he was the first to bring it to the attention of the world. Historian and author Christopher Heaney recounts the events of Hiram Bingham’s expedition that reclaimed Machu Picchu from the jungle.

1038

Numantia: New Model Legion

Numantia in north-eastern Spain is currently the most important Roman Republican military site in the world. Century-old landmark excavations have just been radically reassessed. What have we learnt about the making of the legions?

1049

Stay at home males and roaming females

The results of a major study of early hominid teeth suggest that our male ancestors tended to stick around close to where they were born but that our female forebears moved away from their birthplace to mate with males from other tribes. These findings come from looking at the isotopes in fossilised teeth, which reflect […]

1050

New Dates for Neanderthal Extinction

Researchers at the University of Oxford and at University College Cork, in Ireland, have dated a Neanderthal fossil discovered in a significant cave site in Russia in the northern Caucasus, and found it to be 10,000 years older than previous research had suggested. The research centres on Mezmaiskaya Cave, a key site in the northern […]

1051

Professor Donny George 1950-2011

Donny George Youkhanna, who died in March following a heart attack, was described as ‘one of the brightest experts on the history of Mesopotamia’ by Iraq’s former Culture Minister Mufid al-Jazairi. Donny George (he dropped his last name) was the former Director of the Iraqi National Museum in Bagdad and fought tirelessly to preserve his […]

1031

Keros: island of broken figurines

Post excavation analysis of the finds from Professor Colin Renfrew’s excavations on the island of Keros are beginning to throw new light on the enigmatic rituals of the Aegean Bronze Age. The puzzle that Professor Renfrew and his colleagues on the Cambridge-Keros project have been seeing to resolve is not just why the island was […]

1032

Inca civilisation founded on llama dung

The fact that llamas defecate communally so that their dung is easily gathered underpins the cultural achievement of the Inca civilisation and leads directly to the construction of Machu Picchu, says Alex Chepstow-Lusty, a British palaeoecologist working at the French Institute of Andean Studies in Lima. Chepstow-Lusty has studied pollens and oribatid mites from the […]

1054

Infra-red imaging used to discover thousands of ancient Egyptian sites

Archaeologist Sarah Parcak, who teaches at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, admits to being astonished by her own achievement: ‘I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt,’ she told the BBC recently, ‘using the new technique of infra-red satellite imaging.’ No less than 17 lost pyramids, more than 1,000 tombs, […]

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