Issue 51

Aegae

Aegae: Capital of Macedonian Kings

In 1855, the young French archaeologist Léon Heuzey found the remains of a magnificent palace, concealed under a ruined chapel. The village nearby was called Palatitsia, a name that hints at its former regal glory. Could this be the palace of the ancient Macedonian kings? In issue #50 Andrew Selkirk told the story of how the tomb of Philip II of Macedon – father to Alexander the Great – was discovered here. Now, he returns to examine the rest of the site and shares its secrets with us.

 © Simon Keay

Italy: Portus

Imperial Rome’s mighty maritime gate at Portus was revealed in CWA 42. Now, Simon Keay reports on an exciting new discovery that may hold the key to the nature of this port: the giant military shipsheds of the Emperor’s fleet.

 © UNESCO/Niamh Burke

India: Hampi

The former capital of one of the greatest and wealthiest empires of the Indian subcontinent for 300 years until its destruction in 1565 is facing a new and very modern danger: bulldozers. Paul Woodfield visited the site.

 © Stuart Campbell

Turkey: Domuztepe

The popular image of Neolithic communities is of small hamlet-sized groups. Excavation at the vast settlement at Domuztepe has turned this notion on its head. What rules or rituals could have bound such a huge community together? Alexandra Fletcher and Stuart Campbell believe a macabre ‘death pit’ and mysterious red-clay terrace hold the clue.

Pompeii

What’s new in Pompeii

Pompeii and its neighbour Herculaneum are among the oldest archaeological sites in the world, but today they risk destruction by exposure to the elements, tourist traffic, and time. Yet these are not new problems. As early as the 18th century, excavators applied varnish to wall-paintings in an attempt to prevent their decay; different types of conservation work have taken place on site ever since. The challenge now is to ensure the preservation of these sites while continuing investigations into the town, its inhabitants, and its history. How can we preserve Pompeii’s past for our future? And what more is there to learn?

France: la Glacerie

La Glacerie in Cherbourg, Normandy, is the first WWII Prisoner of War camp for German soldiers to be excavated and studied. How does living memory measure up to archaeological research? Robert Early compares the hard evidence with the witness accounts.

East Timor: Early deep-sea fishermen

The idea that the early humans who migrated to South-east Asia and on to Australia 50,000 or more years ago lacked the skills to build boats has been dealt a blow by evidence for deep-sea fishing 42,000 years ago. Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra have found 38,000 fish bones from 2,843 […]

Syria: Upheavals halt excavations

Archaeologists in Syria have been forced to pull out of the country because of civil unrest, with protesters opposing the government of President Bashar al-Assad. International teams were recording sites threatened by the Halabiyeh hydropower scheme. Now they fear that many of these important and little-explored sites will be lost to flood waters, if the […]

France: The Villers-Carbonnel lady

The Somme region of Picardie is already famous in archaeological circles for the first hand axe to be found in a securely stratified context with the bones of extinct mammals. This find prompted the realisation in European antiquarian circles that humans were far older than timeframes based on Biblical events. Now the same region has […]

Mexico: Moche monkey business

A gold monkey-head pendant has been returned to Peru thanks to the intervention of the country’s ambassador Luis Valdivieso. The artefact, which had been housed by the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, was made by the Moche people. Renowned for their elaborate gold work, the Moche inhabited the north coast of Peru in […]

Japan; Kublai Khan’s invasion fleet

The wreck of a Mongolian ship that took part in Kublai Khan’s attempts to invade and subjugate Japan in 1281 has been discovered on the seabed off southern Japan. The warship appears to be nearly complete, and lies in 1m of silt at a depth of 25m. An archaeological team from Okinawa’s University of the […]

Caribbean: Something cooking on Carriacou

A tiny Caribbean island has produced one of the most diverse collections of prehistoric non-native animal remains ever found in the region. Excavations at two sites on Carriacou revealed that five species were introduced from South America between c.AD 1000-1400. One, opossums, can still be found there today, but the other four – peccaries, armadillos, […]

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