Issue 50

Thailand: Special report

Ayutthaya lies on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, a mighty waterway fed by innumerable tributaries that rise in the Phetchabun Range to the east, and the uplands on northern and western Thailand. From the onset of the monsoon in April and May until the rains subside in November, the river turns into a […]

Carnuntum: Gladiator training centre found near Vienna

The former Roman town of Carnuntum, today an Archaeological park on the Danube 24 miles (38km) east of Vienna, is already known for its well-preserved amphitheatre, but archaeologists have now also discovered the first gladiator training school ever found outside Italy. The find was made using state-of- the-art, ground-penetrating radar equipment, so sensitive that, according […]

Yorktown: America’s first stoneware potter

Archaeologists in Yorktown, Virginia have found a well-preserved kiln site manufacturing fine stoneware pottery at a time when colonial pottery-making was banned: the illegal pottery was set up as a sign of the growing American desire for economic independence from the British Crown, and a desire to end the imposed reliance on imported British-made goods. […]

Armenia: 5900-year-old women’s skirt found in cave

Excavations at Areni 1 Cave in the Vayots Dzor region, on Armenia’s border with Iran and Turkey, have unearthed parts of a well-preserved woman’s skirt of woven straw, which has been dated to 3900 BC. Excavation Director, Pavel Avetisyan, of the Armenian Archaeology and Ethnography Institute, said ‘It is an amazing material with rhythmic colour hues’. […]

Blombos Cave: 100,000 year old paint in a shell

The discovery of two art toolkits, dating to 100,000 years ago, in a south African cave, show early humans were capable of sophisticated abstract thought and possessed a high level of technological know-how. Two abalone shells containing an ochre-rich mixture – probably used for decoration, painting, and skin protection – were found at Blombos Cave […]

Chris Catling on…

Museums of the world not to be missed No matter how unlikely the subject, there is bound to be a museum devoted to it somewhere in the world. Fascinated by sanitation? According to Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi (www.sulabhtoiletmuseum.org), ‘the toilet is a part of […]

Italy: first modern European

A 45,000-year-old toddler’s milk tooth, found in southern Italy, is evidence of the first modern humans to reach Europe. Stefano Benazzi, of the University of Vienna, and Katerina Douka, from Oxford University, and colleagues, have identified two milk teeth as being early modern human rather than Neanderthal, as previously believed. Both are molars: one belonging […]

Malta: preserving Malta’s heritage

A long-neglected archaeological landscape will now be preserved after being declared a Class A Area of Archaeological Importance by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA). The multi-period site at Tal-Wej, dating from the Bronze
Age through to the 16th century, was being used as an illegal dumping ground for construction rubbish and was under threat […]

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Charles higham on: Archiving historic moments in archaeology

Imagine being played a DVD of Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Russell Wallace discussing their views on evolution, or Boucher de Perthes, Dean Buckland, and William Pengelly describing their approach to the early human occupation of Europe. This is, of course, impossible: their inner thoughts are sadly consigned to oblivion, and only the carefully […]

Great Excavations

Troy: Great Excavations

Heinrich Schliemann has been described as ‘the creator of prehistoric Greek archaeology’, but he was an amateur when he took up archaeology aged 46 after making his fortune in business.

Arles-Theatre

Travels to Arles

According to Oscar Wilde, ‘the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it’. With the arrival this summer of a new direct train from London’s St Pancras to Avignon in France, the temptation to spend a few days in Provence was one not worth fighting. But Avignon, temporary home of […]

Copan August 2011 073

Travels to Copan

  I tend to sum countries up by how they treat their archaeological sites and, in common with everyone I know, their airport security. On these grounds, Honduras, one of the world’s poorest countries, is a world-leader. Its only World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1980, is the great Mayan capital of Copan, close to the […]

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